Simplification of legislation

Simplifying legislation means weeding out the superfluous by rigorously applying the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.


Clarity of the treaties (simplification of the treaties)
Subsidiarity and proportionality
Single institutional framework

The single institutional framework means the Union acting through shared institutions, whatever its area of action, in order to ensure the consistency and continuity of that action. This applies equally to differentiated integration operations which do not involve all Member States.

Closer cooperation
Stability and Growth Pact

The Stability and Growth Pact has to be seen against the background of the third stage of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), which began on 1 January 1999. Its aim is to ensure that the Member States continue their budgetary discipline efforts once the single currency has been introduced.
The Stability and Growth Pact opens the way for the Council to penalise any participating Member State which fails to take appropriate measures to end an excessive deficit.

Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)
Subsidiarity and proportionality

The subsidiarity principle is intended to ensure that decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen and that constant checks are made as to whether action at Community level is justified in the light of the possibilities available at national, regional or local level. Specifically, it is the principle whereby the Union does not take action (except in the areas which fall within its exclusive competence) unless it is more effective than action taken at national, regional or local level. It is closely bound up with the principle of proportionality, which requires that any action by the Union should not go beyond what is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Treaty on European Union.

Suspension clause

The suspension clause was written into the Treaty on European Union by the Treaty of Amsterdam.
Under this clause, some of a Member State's rights under the Treaties (e.g. its voting rights in the Council) may be suspended if it seriously and persistently breaches the principles on which the Union is founded (liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law). Its obligations, however, would still be binding.