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Principle of conferral

Under this fundamental principle of European Union (EU) law, laid down in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union, the EU acts only within the limits of the competences that EU Member States have conferred upon it in the treaties. These competences are defined in Articles 2–6 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Competences not conferred on the EU by the treaties thus remain fully with the Member States.

While the principle of conferral governs the limits to EU competences, the use of those competences is governed by the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.