EU: Subsidiarity

House of Lords written question – answered on 24th January 2008.

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Photo of Lord Lester of Herne Hill Lord Lester of Herne Hill Discrimination Law Reform, Work & Pensions

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What legislative and administrative measures will be needed to give effect to the Protocol to the Treaty of Lisbon on the Application of the Principles of Subsidiarity and Proportionality so as to enable either House of Parliament to invoke the Protocol before the European Court of Justice.

Photo of Baroness Ashton of Upholland Baroness Ashton of Upholland President of the Council, Privy Council Office, Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council (Privy Council Office)

The Protocol to the Lisbon Treaty on the Application of the Principles of Subsidiarity and Proportionality establishes a number of procedures allowing national Parliaments to raise objections to draft EU legislation on subsidiarity grounds. It is for Parliament to decide how to exercise its rights under these procedures.

Article 8 of the Treaty also provides that:

"The Court of Justice of the European Union shall have jurisdiction in actions on grounds of infringement of the principle of subsidiarity by a legislative act, brought in accordance with the rules laid down in Article 230 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union by Member States, or notified by them in accordance with their legal order on behalf of their national Parliament or a chamber thereof".

No legislation is required to implement this provision. As at present, it would be for the Government to conduct any litigation before the European Court of Justice on behalf of the United Kingdom pursuant to Article 230. This would include cases initiated at the request of Parliament, pursuant to the above provision, on the basis of prior discussion and agreement with the Government.

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