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
European Union law
European Union law is a body of treaties and legislation, such as Regulations and Directives, which have direct effect or indirect effect on the laws of European Union member states. The three sources of European Union law are primary law, secondary law and supplementary 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
European Communities
The European Communities were three international organisations that were governed by the same set of institutions...

 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:
This principle is also explicitly specified in the new Treaty of Lisbon
Treaty of Lisbon
The Treaty of Lisbon of 1668 was a peace treaty between Portugal and Spain, concluded at Lisbon on 13 February 1668, through the mediation of England, in which Spain recognized the sovereignty of Portugal's new ruling dynasty, the House of Braganza....

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