Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, on 1st December 2009, the Committee of the Regions (CoR) is vested with more responsibilities regarding subsidiarity. It now has the right to bring an action before the EU Court of Justice on the grounds of infringement of the subsidiarity principle.
The subsidiarity principle, as laid down in the Treaty on European Union (Article 5(3)), now explicitly contains local and regional dimensions and thus underlines the necessity to respect competences of local and regional authorities within the EU.
The CoR has adapted its rules of procedure to this new prerogative. It is further developing its subsidiarity monitoring system, particularly the activities of its Subsidiarity Monitoring Network (SMN), along the lines adopted by the Bureau on 2 May 2012.
The SMN has a political coordinator, drawn from the members of the CoR, who gives impetus to the Platform's agenda and reports back on its work to the Bureau and other institutions. The SMN Coordinator, currently
Dr. Michael Schneider (DE/EPP) chairs the CoR Subsidiarity Steering Group, which includes CoR members from each of the political groups - Franco Jacop (IT/PES), Jean-Luc Vanraes (BE/ALDE) , Mairi Angela Gougeon Evans (UK/EA) and Judith Wallace (UK/ECR).
According to the revised subsidiarity monitoring strategy adopted by the CoR Bureau on 2 May 2012, the Subsidiarity Steering Group ensures the proper coordination and political follow-up of subsidiarity monitoring activities throughout the year. In particular, it is responsible for highlighting annual subsidiarity priorities and making proposals on the use of the most appropriate tools and procedures of the SMN in order to support the work of CoR rapporteurs in the legislative process.
The Subsidiarity Steering Group is the competent body for making proposals and presenting texts to be adopted by the CoR Bureau regarding subsidiarity. It monitors the implementation of the CoR's Subsidiarity Annual Work Programme, as well as the overall political role of the CoR in applying the subsidiarity principle in the EU decision-making process. Having an overview role, it also endorses the Subsidiarity Annual Report and presents it to the CoR Bureau.
Further, the Subsidiarity Steering Group should be kept informed about the position of CoR opinions regarding compliance of EU proposals with the subsidiarity and proportionality principles, the main findings of consultations of the Subsidiarity Monitoring Network together with reasoned opinions/subsidiarity analyses issued by national/regional Parliaments in the framework of the Subsidiarity Early Warning System.
The work of the Steering Group is supported by the Subsidiarity Expert Group - a group of local and regional subsidiarity experts selected from the Subsidiarity Monitoring Network, according to their expertise in terms of subsidiarity as well as a strong background in EU law. The Expert Group provides input for the Subsidiarity Annual Work Programme and is at the disposal of CoR rapporteurs if needed.