The Task Force will work under the Chairmanship of First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and will report to the President by 15 July 2018. Scenario 4 in the Commission's - "Doing less more efficiently - foresees that the European Union focuses on delivering more and faster in selected policy areas such as securing our external borders through the European Border and Coast Guard or in pooling defence capabilities, while doing less elsewhere, such as in regional development. The Subsidiarity and Proportionality Task Force will identify policy areas where work could be devolved or definitely returned to Member States, as well as ways to better involve regional and local authorities in EU policy making and delivery.
President Juncker said: "The European Commission must be big on the big things, and act only where it can achieve better results than Member States acting alone. This was my message when I was campaigning to become President of this Institution and it was the message delivered by the leaders of the EU27 in the Rome Declaration in March 2017. The new Subsidiarity and Proportionality Task Force will help us to decide which powers can be better exercised at a national or local level, and respond to citizens expectations to take care of the concerns that really matter to them."
First Vice-President Timmermans added: "This Commission has really pushed better regulation so that we are ambitious where we must be, and modest wherever we can be. We do this on the basis of the latest evidence and broad public consultation. We need to continue this work and explore where the EU can really add value more efficiently but also empower Member States to do all that they can do better themselves. This Task Force will do exactly that.”
The members of the Task Force are all politicians. They have been nominated by the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC) and by the Committee of the Regions. They are: (nominees from COSAC) Toomas Vitsut (Member of the Parliament of Estonia), Reinhold Lopatka (Member of the Parliament of Austria) and Kristian Vigenin (Member of the Parliament of Bulgaria) and (nominees from the Committee of the Regions) Karl-Heinz Lambertz (President), Michael Schneider and François Decoster. The European Parliament was invited to nominate three members, but has not yet done so. The Task Force will meet for the first time before the end of January and present its report by 15 July.
President Juncker's decision to establish this Task Force follows the spirit of the of March 2017 where the EU27 leaders stated "We want the Union to be big on big issues and small on small ones. We will promote a democratic, effective and transparent decision-making process and better delivery." This approach means concentrating our energies on and doing more in areas with the biggest added-value for Europe's citizens - such as security, external border management or defence - while doing less in others. The creation of the Task Force was most recently welcomed in a debate on the Future of Europe in the European Parliament on Tuesday 17 January. He also voiced back to Member States in a Citizens' Dialogue in November 2017.
In his State of the Union Address on 13 September 2017, President Juncker presented his vision for Europe in 2025, based on the debate launched by the White Paper on the Future of Europe. One of the Scenarios presented – Scenario 4 – was "Doing Less More Efficiently" under which the European Union should step up its work in certain fields while stopping to act or doing less in domains where it is perceived as having more limited added value, or as being unable to deliver on its promises. The work of the Task Force will contribute to the further evolution of the European Union in the context of the Commission's Roadmap for developing a more united, stronger and more democratic Union ahead of the European Parliament elections and the EU27 Leaders' meeting in Sibiu (Romania) on 9 May 2019.
The Political Guidelines of President Juncker, presented on 15 July 2014, have bound the Commission to focus on 10 priority policy areas, shaping the work of the Institution for the past 3 years and ensuring that as much work as possible is left in the hands of Member States. The Commission further developed this concept in its White Paper on the Future of Europe on 1 March 2017, which presented 5 scenarios, including one entitled 'Doing Less More Efficiently'.
The principles of subsidiarity and proportionality are laid down in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union. The subsidiarity principle aims to ensure that decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen and that the EU does not take action unless it is more effective than action taken at national, regional or local level. The proportionality principle limits the exercise of the EU's powers to what is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Treaties. As an example of the application of these principles under this Commission, state aid control under the Juncker Commission has already been largely re-delegated to national authorities, and 97% of all state aid measures are now in the hands of national, regional and local authorities.
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