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Sources of EU Law

Sources of EU Law

The sources of EU law provide the legal framework for the functioning of the EU, ensuring that EU law is applied consistently and predictably across all member states. These sources of law include primary sources such as treaties, as well as secondary sources such as regulations, directives, decisions, recommendations, opinions, and case law.


Primary Sources


Treaties: The EU's primary legal instruments are its treaties, which establish the framework and principles of the EU. The main EU treaties are the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).


Charter of Fundamental Rights: The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union is a legally binding document that outlines the fundamental rights and freedoms that are protected in the EU.


Secondary Sources


Regulations: Regulations are directly applicable legal acts that are binding in their entirety and are immediately effective in all EU Member States. They have the force of law and do not need to be transposed into national law.


Directives: Directives are legal acts that set out specific goals that EU Member States must achieve. Member States have some discretion in how they implement directives, but they must achieve the goals set out in the directive.


Decisions: Decisions are legal acts that are binding on the parties to which they are addressed. They can be addressed to individuals, companies or Member States, and can be used to settle disputes or to enforce EU law.


Recommendations and opinions: Recommendations and opinions are not legally binding, but they can influence the actions of Member States and other EU institutions.


Case law: The judgments of the EU's courts, including the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), also contribute to the development of EU law. These judgments interpret and apply EU law and can establish important precedents for future cases.


The sources of EU law provide a comprehensive framework for the EU's legal system, ensuring consistency and predictability in the application of EU law across all Member States.


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