Direct Effect of EU Law

European Union (EU) law has direct effect on the member states and their citizens. Direct effect means that individuals and companies can rely on EU law to assert their rights in national courts, and national courts are required to apply EU law in their decisions. The principle of direct effect was established by the European Court of Justice in the case of Flaminio Costa v ENEL in 1964 which gives EU law direct effect in the following situations:

Treaty provisions: The provisions of EU treaties, such as the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people, have direct effect. This means that individuals and businesses can rely on these provisions in national courts.

Regulations: Regulations are directly applicable in all EU member states without the need for national implementing legislation. Individuals and businesses can rely on regulations in national courts.

Directives: Directives set out goals that member states must achieve, but they leave it up to the member states to decide how to achieve those goals. However, if a member state fails to implement a directive properly, individuals and businesses can rely on the directive in national courts.

Case law: The judgments of the European Court of Justice have direct effect. National courts are required to apply the principles established by the Court of Justice in their decisions.

In short, the direct effects of EU law ensure that individuals and businesses have legal certainty and protection across the EU, and that member states are held accountable for their obligations under EU law.
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