The First Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, joined today CoR members gathering at their plenary session for a debate on the future direction of the EU.
The debate came just a few days after the first meeting of the newly established "Task Force on Subsidiarity and Proportionality" and "Doing less more efficiently", led by the Commission's First Vice-President and which includes three CoR members.
Pointing to the major challenges the EU is currently facing (including the migration crisis and the rise of populism), Commissioner Timmermans underlined that solutions to these problems require joint efforts at all levels of government. "The Task Force will therefore closely look at a series of questions: Are the procedures we follow today to ensure compliance with subsidiarity and proportionality working well enough? In which areas should the EU do less and in which ones should it do more? How can local and regional authorities be better involved in the EU law-making process?"
Speaking on behalf of the PES Group in the CoR, Barbara Duden, President of the CoR's CIVEX commission, welcomed the launch of the Task Force but voiced the Group's concerns over the idea of re-nationalising whole policy areas: "The «doing less more efficiently» approach is misleading given the huge challenges we are facing today in a world which is changing faster and faster and where the impact of change is getting more and more difficult to assess. The debate should therefore rather focus on "proportionality" instead of on which level should regulate what and in what detail", she pointed out.
The PES CIVEX president also underlined that certain common standards, for instance on the rule of law, which are essential pre-conditions for mutual trust in Europe, need to be upheld at the European level and therefore supported Commissioner Timmermans in his responsibility on these matters.