LGA calls for EU reforms

22 Feb 01
The Local Government Association has called on European institutions to tackle accusations of 'top-down' decision-making by renegotiating relations with other tiers of government.

23 February 2001

A briefing paper, launched as part of the European issues strand at Labour's spring conference, recommends drawing up a statement of principles to define how policy decisions should taken and at what level.

The statement should be based on the 'key principles' of subsidiarity (taking decisions as close to the citizen as possible) and proportionality (limiting government action to what is strictly necessary to achieve its goal).

'The European Commission has recognised that, if the European Union is to be responsive and win back a wider base of popular confidence, it needs to include and involve all the spheres of government, including local and regional,' the document says.

If this process of inclusion were to become an intrinsic part of the EU's procedures, then local authorities could provide a 'citizen focus' for European governance.

The document adds that this would also help to address the 'growing discontent' with the EU's seemingly prescriptive approach to making laws.

An LGA spokesman said the paper was designed to stimulate discussion over the coming months on how the different tiers of government within the EU should co-exist.

'We are keen to discuss the issues raised in this paper with the British government and with the European institutions themselves.

'We are also keen to prompt a debate with local and regional authorities in other European countries,' he said.


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