Challenging the Subnational Dimension of Subsidiarity in EU Law
13 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2017
Date Written: September 7, 2015
This article, which forms part of the ‘New Voices’ series and is hence drafted as an essay rather than a proper academic article, examines the principle of subsidiarity in its application to local and regional authorities as they exist within the various Member States. While subnational authorities (‘SNAs’) have been studied extensively within the respective domestic contexts, their relation with other levels of public authority, such as the European Union, is less well-defined. Subsidiarity is often cast as the principle capable of recognizing the existence of subnational autonomies by the EU, and guiding their interaction with the latter. This is so in particular after Article 5(3) TEU has been amended on the occasion of the Lisbon Treaty revision to include an express reference to local and regional authorities. This short essay challenges this perception of subsidiarity, putting forward that the core legal provisions that deal with subsidiarity in EU law do not allocate any meaningful role for SNAs. This is so, it is argued, because subsidiarity remains anchored in an understanding of the European Union and its legal order as composed of and shaped by the EU and the Member States to the exclusion of any other actor.
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