Conferred (allocated) powers, Principle of

Conferred (allocated) powers, Principle of

The Lisbon Treaty establish the principle of conferred powers in Art. 4 and 5.2 TEU.

Conferred and allocated powers is the same concept.

The EU only possesses the powers given to it through the treaties and - as a general principle - through the Member States. Powers not allocated to the EU remain with the nation states.

The important question is: Who decides if the Member States and EU institutions disagree? The answer is: The EU Court in Luxembourg.

Over time, it has moved the borders to the extent that the Belgian EU Judge Koen Leonarts concluded already in the middle of the 90's that there is no nucleus of national competence which cannot be reached by the EU.

No expert has been able to mention just one national law which cannot be touched upon by the Lisbon Treaty.

The principle of allocated powers in the Lisbon Treaty is similar to the Swiss Constitution and to the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution. The principle has not prevented the USA from developing into a full federal state.  

30 June 2009 the German Constitutional Court insisted on its right to control the use of the allocated powers by the European institutions - including verdicts from the EU Court.

The verdict contradicts Art. 344 TFEU giving the European Court a monopoly to interpret the treaties. See German Constitutional Court case.


See also Flexibility clause.