Subsidiarity: A Political and Legal Analysis

16 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2012

See all articles by Paul P. Craig

Paul P. Craig

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

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Date Written: March 2012


The concept of subsidiarity was a notable addition to the Maastricht Treaty when it was first introduced. It continues to be of political and legal significance in the postā€Lisbon world. This article considers subsidiarity from a political and legal perspective. It analyses the diverse rationales behind its inclusion in the Treaty, and the reasons why it has proven difficult to realize the objectives of subsidiarity. The focus then shifts to the legal dimension and considers the role played by the EU courts in monitoring subsidiarity and suggestions that the EU courts should review subsidiarity through a form of competenceā€proportionality control.

Suggested Citation

Craig, Paul P., Subsidiarity: A Political and Legal Analysis (March 2012). JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 50, pp. 72-87, 2012. Available at SSRN: or

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