ECR launches new Policy Group on Subsidiarity and Localism

“Pooling the experience of local and regional government mandate holders so as to enable a wide discussion on relevant EU reform issues”

“Pooling the experience of local and regional government mandate holders so as to enable a wide discussion on relevant EU reform issues”

The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) established a policy group on subsidiarity and localism to develop new options for EU reform. Europe needs a new direction if it is to respect the rights of its Member States and fulfil the expectations of their citizens. The policy group is chaired by Andrew Lewer MBE, MEP.

Andrew Lewer explains: “We are pooling together the experience and knowledge of the ECR in this Policy Group with a particular focus on those politicians within it who have local and regional government experience so as to enable a wide discussion on relevant EU issues. My more personal motivation is that as a former English County Council Leader and as a Vice-President of the Local Government Association for England I want to ensure that the activities of MEPs appear as relevant and inclusive as possible for my colleagues who remain at the front line of political delivery, in local and regional government. The large attendance of MEPs and their teams at our launch event at the Committee of the Regions building indicates this is a desire many of them share.”

A key motivation for the subsidiarity and localism policy group is based on the need for greater monitoring and reporting on the impact of EU legislation at local level. We will enable the ECR mandate holders to identify areas where the cost of implementing EU legislation outweighs what is considered as “the cost of non-Europe”. We want to anticipate and implement EU legal provisions on subsidiarity and proportionality, and facilitate the contribution of national parliaments (and beyond, to local government). The policy group shall develop its own “subsidiarity score board” indicating the political willingness to transfer legislative power back to the Member States when amending existing EU legislation and spending procedures.

Subsidiarity under threat

The EU Treaty itself indicates that the principle of subsidiarity does not apply to the entirety of Union law: the Union’s exclusive competences are exempt. The narrative of “Europe of Regions” and “subsidiarity” is intended to calm critics of EU centralisation. Like other such principles, it is praised more than practiced. What enthusiasts for all things EU need to realise is that work of this sort and a sceptical attitude towards some sort of federal European state is needed to save the EU from itself. The ECR is, in this respect, the best friend an EU that can retain all of its current members has. Subsidiarity is a key part of reshaping the EU into an entity that truly works for the citizens of its Member States.

ECR-President Cllr Gordon Keymer CBE, Andrew Lewer MBE MEP, Jan Zahradil MEP, Cllr Roger Evans (Chairman of the London Assembly and ECR Subsidiarity Coordinator).

Beatrix von Storch MEP (Berlin), Anthya McIntyre MEP (West Midlands) and Chairman Andrew I. Lewer MBE MEP (East Midlands)

At the next meeting in June 2015, the policy group will explore the best practices of local alliances for the wellbeing of children and the family towards an European label “Family Friendly Region”. In September 2015, we will explore Europe’s Energy Security Challenges for local and regional authorities. Another important issue is the role of local and regional authorities in the circular economy, where we will explore the compliance of binding targets with the principle of subsidiarity and localism (October 2015).

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