Open Europe Blog

Der Spiegel this morning reports that the CSU has started an “anti-Brussels election campaign” citing an internal CSU strategy paper which will form the basis of the party’s campaign for the 2014 European elections entitled “Europas Zukunft: Freiheit, Sicherheit, Regionalität und Bürgernähe” (which translates as Europe’s future: Freedom, Security, Localism and closeness to the citizens). The paper is certainly highly critical of many aspects of the EU but it also sets out concrete reform proposals which include:

The return of certain competencies to member states: The possibility of this was already hinted at by Angela Merkel during the recent election campaign but the CSU are going one step further by providing some additional details by specifying regional policy (as recommended by Open Europe and Open Europe Berlin) and “parts of the over-regulated single market”. It is not clear what exactly would come under the latter category but it is possible that it could include areas like social and employment law which are not strictly part of the single market but which have come to be seen as ancillary to it.

A new EU “subsidiarity” or “competences” Court: Der Spiegel quotes the paper as saying that “We need a form of withdrawal therapy for Commissioners intoxicated by regulation”. The antidote it would seem will be a new EU subsidiarity or competences Court – composed of national constitutional judges/legal experts – which would mediate in cases where the Commission has allegedly overstepped its limits. This option has been voiced in Germany before but it looks like the CSU will give it a serious push. If combined with new powers for national parliaments, such as binding ‘red card’, this could be an effective way of keeping the Commission’s desire to accrue new powers in check.

The paper also strongly reiterates the party’s support for referenda to be held on EU issues in Germany and for shrinking the EU Commission.

Given that Cameron has not enjoyed the best headlines in Europe recently this late Christmas present will be very welcome at Number 10.

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