Richard North, EUReferendum, posts that subsidiarity has reared its head (again) via Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister.
Now subsidiarity is an intriguing concept which states that:
“…it is the principle whereby the Union does not take action (except in the areas that fall within its exclusive competence), unless it is more effective than action taken at national, regional or local level…..”
This presents the illusion of a benign Commission allowing Member States to go their own way, thus retaining their sovereignty to implement their own legislation. However, as with most aspects of the European Union, matters are not always as they first appear.
Yesterday the European Union launched what they termed a “Clean Fuel Strategy” which involves an ambitious package of measures to ensure the build-up of alternative fuel stations across Europe with common standards for their design and use because policy initiatives so far have mostly addressed the actual fuels and vehicles, without considering fuels distribution and efforts to provide incentives have been un-co-ordinated and insufficient – coupled to which announcement there is also a handy “Memo” containing FAQs.
As has happened in other areas, the European Union has decided that it will “take over” in order to introduce legislation that it feels is long overdue. This is an aspect of “ever closer union” that has been long-overlooked by not only those in the political class but also the media – and is exemplified by the fact that there are now 1000+ treaties by which we are bound to the European Union which they have agreed with other countries on behalf of the Member States.
The subject of clean fuel – and all the ramifications – is an aspect of transport that has long been under discussion at the United Nations Economic Council Europe (UNECE), of which the European Union is a member, as incidentally is Norway – but I digress. All “technical” quasi-legislation in respect of transport, be it the size of vehicle wing mirrors, road signs, or types of fuel emanates from the UNECE.
In this particular case we have a situation that where forthcoming quasi-legislation is yet to be handed down to members of the UNECE for implementation, the European Union is taking the opportunity to pre-empt that which they know is in the pipeline and thus enabling them to further “ever closer union”.