One of the fundamental differences between the EU and its Member States is that the EU may legislate only on the basis of those powers that have been conferred by the Treaty. This is expressed by the principle of conferral (Article 5(2) of the Treaty of European Union), which means that if the EU has no powers to act, it cannot enact valid legislation. In turn, such EU powers have been conferred by the Member States, which ‘have limited their sovereign rights, albeit in limited fields’ (Case 26/62 Van Gend & Loos  ECR 3).
Such a principle has been enforced by the Court of Justice, which has jurisdiction to review the legality of EU law on the grounds of lack of competence (Article 263, 2nd paragraph of Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).
1. Why is the principle of conferral important in the relationship between the European Union and the Member States?
2. Explain how the EU competences are structured and whether there are differences between the regulation of such competences prior and after the Treaty of Lisbon.
3. If the EU has no power to act, but it is necessary to take action at the European level, what is the procedure to empower the EU to act? What was the concern that led the Treaty drafters to provide for such strict requirements?
The word limit is 2500 including the footnote – the referencing style is oscala -references should be EU cases, journals and some textbooks but it is best to use as many journals. – the essay is a legal based assignment so it should include critical legal arguments and should discuss the LAW.
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