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Proportionality (political maxim)

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Proportionality (political maxim)

This article is about proportionality, the political maxim. For other uses of the term proportionality, see Proportionality (disambiguation).

The principle of proportionality is a political maxim which states that no layer of government should take any action that exceeds that which is necessary to achieve the objective of government (Regardless of intent of objective). It was initially developed in the German legal system.

It is a fundamental principle of European Union law. According to this principle, the EU may only act to exactly the extent that is needed to achieve its objectives, and no further. This principle has underpinned the European Communities since their inception in 1957. In the presently applicable primary law, the principle of proportionality is clearly formulated in the third paragraph of Article 5 of the Treaty establishing the European Community as follows:

Any action by the Community shall not go beyond what is necessary to achieve the objectives of this Treaty.


This principle is also explicitly specified in the new Treaty of Lisbon.

See also

Subsidiarity#European Union law

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