Hugo Dixon: How to legitimize EU - decentralize

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 22, 2013 4:13 AM

By Hugo Dixon

LONDON, July 22 (Reuters Breakingviews) - The European Union is facing a crisis of legitimacy. The most extreme, but not only, manifestation is in the UK, where citizens may vote to quit the EU. Reforms are needed to stop Brussels interfering in things best left to nations.


- William Hague, the UK foreign secretary, last week called for reform of the European Union to decentralize power for the benefit of all member states not just Britain. In a speech at a dinner given by the Open Europe think tank, he said: "Change in the EU is worth fighting for and that change would not just benefit Britain but every country in the EU".

- "We need to give the EU the mechanisms to stop unnecessary interference, to decentralize powers better dealt with by national parliaments and governments back to national parliaments and governments. That is best done by giving parliaments the tools to do so. In that context I have discussed giving national parliaments a red card enforcement power on subsidiarity and proportionality", Hague said.

- The UK is this week expected to publish the first results of its review of the EU's competences.

- Last month the Dutch government said it was "convinced that the time of an 'ever closer union' in every possible policy area is behind us" following a review of EU powers. It aims to initiate a process in the EU, based on the principle: "European where necessary, national where possible".

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- Hague speech

- Dutch government press release (Hugo Dixon is Editor-at-Large, Reuters News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

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(Editing by Sarah Bailey)