subsidiarity

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subsidiarity

the idea that functions that can be exercised at a lower level of organization should so be rather than being taken over by a higher level organization. The idea appears within the Roman Catholic Church in the encyclicals Rerum Novarum (1891) and the Quadragesimo Anno (1931). Its present importance, however, is as a relatively new principle within the legal system of the EUROPEAN UNION. The Treaty on European Union embodies the concept in various places, most notably in the Preamble, where the parties intend to create an ever closer union in which decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. It has been questioned whether, save in the narrow area of cooperation on justice and home affairs, the concept is sufficiently ‘legal’ to be subject of decisions by the courts. Rather, it maybe a political directive or at most an aid to interpretation. The applicability of the doctrine is made more difficult by the fact that the precise role of the European Union is not specifically defined, and it acquires and has acquired functions over time. However, the Treaty of Amsterdam formalized the doctrine in a protocol to the treaties. Accordingly community legislation is scrutinized to try to ensure it complies with the principle and, generally, the least binding option should be taken in legislating. Finally, if the superior body is to exercise a function it should be proportionate - appropriate to the scale of the problem addressed.
References in periodicals archive ?
As regarding the first institution, the principle of subsidiarity is not referred to on its web page.
The doctrine of absolute and sovereign |provincial autonomy' formally accepted for the Anglican Communion at the Lambeth Conference of 1988 is in its way as much a threat to the principle of subsidiarity as Vatican |interference' in the life of local churches in the Roman Catholic Church seems to be.
With regard to the two bishops urging the principle of subsidiarity in opposition to health care reform: Subsidiarity, correctly understood, is a two-way street.
The principle of subsidiarity proposes a set of criteria to know who must be responsible for what in which circumstances.
During late August and early September, a half-dozen Midwestern bishops issued statements on health care that, in addition to voicing familiar concerns about abortion and freedom of conscience, also invoked the Catholic principle of subsidiarity to express moral objections to expanded government control.
According to The New Catholic Encyclopedia, "the principle of subsidiarity is broadly concerned with the limits of the right and duty of the public authority to intervene in social and economic affairs." (3) It is a principle that cuts in two directions.
It will also reinforce the principle of subsidiarity: that the EU should only take action where the objective cannot be sufficiently achieved at national level.
In the conference described below, the model of the Church as "communion" and the principle of subsidiarity were extolled as favouring more power for the local churches; in other words, the speakers favoured Cardinal Kasper's theory explained in the article on pages 12-14.
The principal role of the Commission, on the other hand, is to undertake action at Community level when there is added value, according to the principle of subsidiarity. The added value might come in the form of an attempt to ensure a degree of coordination between the programmes implemented by Member States, and to promote full transparency as well as a coherent and self-reinforcing approach.
Mr Nicoletti conceded that the universality of these rights and the supranational character of the Court needed to be balanced with the respect for diversity and with the principle of subsidiarity. However, he added, there is a point beyond which change becomes incompatible with principle.

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