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  The principle that a central authority has a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level. Although not a new concept, subsidiarity has come to prominence in Europe with the growing political significance of the European Union. It was present in embryonic form in the Treaty of Paris that established the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952 and was implicit in the Treaty of Rome in 1956, but it was spelled out explicitly in the Single European Act in 1986, with specific reference to the environment and EU environment policy. Since the Treaty on European Union in 1992, it has become an increasingly important guiding principle for all areas of EU decision-making. Before any function may be handed over to the EU centrally, it must be demonstrated that it can no longer be satisfactorily carried out by any of the levels of decision-making within Member States. However, any transfer of powers must have due regard for national identity and the powers of the regions. For their part, Member States are required to actively facilitate the achievement of EU objectives, as set out in the Treaty on European Union and the other founding treaties. (MB)  



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