The European Union ( Eu )

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The European Union (EU) does not have an unlimited power to act. The limits of Union competences are governed by the principle of conferral. Under the principle of conferral, the Union shall act within the limits of the competences conferred upon it by the Member States (MS) in the Treaties. The central debate about competence is with regard to the principle that the EC operates within the confines of attributed powers tends to be obscured by an open-handed reading of the matter in practice. The Articles of EC are broadly worded, with little restrictions. For example, Article 95 EC provides the Council the power to pass directives and regulations so as to facilitate harmonization of the internal market. It is a residual provision that operates, “save where otherwise provided in this Treaty”. This could be translated as a general power of regulating the market. Also Article 308 EC empowers the Community to legislate where it is “necessary to attain, in the course of the operation of the common market, one of the objectives of the Community and this Treaty has not provided necessary powers”. These broadly framed Articles can be dangerous because it becomes impossible to have a clear conceptual outer limit to the residual provisions. In addition, subsidiarity and proportionality have not performed well as devices for restraining the political desire to exercise a competence once granted. The malady is captured by the catchphrase competence creep. It is also alleged that

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