Chapter 3 Practice essay question

Chapter 3 Question

To the concern of the member states, the competences of the EU have expanded considerably in excess of deliberate Treaty amendments.

Please discuss this and the measures that have been introduced to control this so-called ‘competence creep’.

Attempt this question before reading the answer guidance below.



Answer guide

The first part of the question may seem a little bit cryptic but should send you off in the right direction. As with many questions, definitions to set out your stall should be the first port of call.

Outline what the competences of the EU are. Explain the ways in which they may be increased (3 ways: express by Treaty amendments, residual law-making powers (Arts 114, 115 & 352 TFEU), and implied powers led by the CJEU), and to score well, give examples and where appropriate, especially with implied competences, give case examples.

The important element of the first part of question is to address “to the concern of the member states”. Outline the concerns, e.g. the EU usurping the power of the member states – attack on member state sovereignty etc.

Then address the measures that have been adopted to control the competence creep, including:

  • clearer outline of respective competences
  • restrictive drafting
  • subsidiarity and proportionality
  • legal challenges which are also connected with legal base

This latter part is a large part of the answer.