Published in The Independent, 20 April 2004
Sir, The principle of subsidiarity enshrined in the proposed European constitution – that the European Union should act only where it can do so better than the member states alone – is not a bulwark against federalism but an expression of it (“Just a ‘tidying- up exercise’ or a drastic loss of sovereignty?”, 19 April).
The whole point about federalism is that it is based on having different levels of government, each responsible for the issues which can best be dealt with at that level and accountable directly to the citizens for those issues. No one sees anything odd in having local government to deal with local issues (and not national ones) and national government to deal with national issues (and not local ones). A federal Europe would apply the same principle to the European Union.
Richard LAMING, Director, Federal Union, London SE1