Lords tell European Institutions that food distribution scheme proposal does not comply with EU principles

04 November 2010

The House of Lords is to tell the Presidents of the European institutions that a European Commission proposal to amend a scheme to distribute food to deprived persons does not comply with principles set out in the Lisbon Treaty.

The House of Lords made the decision after debating the findings of a report by its EU Committee this afternoon. 

The report found that there is no reason why the EU is better placed to organise food distribution than Member States, and that this activity should rest with national, regional or local governments.  It concluded that the proposal to amend the current EU-wide scheme does not comply with the principle of subsidiarity (that legislation should be made at the lowest appropriate level).

Under new powers granted to national parliaments by the Lisbon Treaty, the House of Lords will submit a reasoned opinion to the European institutions setting out why it regards the proposal as inconsistent with the principle of subsidiarity. It is only the second time that the House of Lords has used this power.

The Committee believes that Member States are capable of acting individually to address the issues of hunger, deprivation, poverty and social exclusion which are offered by the European Commission as justification for the EU-wide scheme.  The Committee sees a risk of confusion in parallel operation in a Member State of a national system and an EU-wide scheme.

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