European legislation

European legislation

EU primary legislation includes articles of association, subsequent amendments thereto, as well as their supplements, annexes and protocols. Treaties of accession of new Member States to the EU are also included.

In its entirety, the primary legislation sets out the basic principles and rules on which the functioning of the EU is based. The distribution of powers and procedures for decision-making in fulfilling the responsibilities in different areas of action are governed.

The latest revision of EU primary legislation was made by the Lisbon Treaty, which entered in force in December 2009. With the Lisbon Treaty changes have been made in the Treaty establishing the European Community, which was renamed the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

EU secondary legislation

EU secondary legislation is based on articles of association and covers the acts created by EU institutions within the meaning of Art. 288 to 292 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU). This includes directives, regulations, decisions, recommendations and opinions.

A regulation is an act of general application, which is binding in its entirety. It is directly applicable in all Member States from the moment of its entry into force.

A directive is a legislative act, which is binding on the achievement of certain results. It gives Member States the option to choose how to achieve the common goal. A directive is not an act of direct application and must be transposed into the national laws of the Member States.

Decisions are acts that address a specific individual - a Member State, an institution or a physical or legal person. A decision binds only the addressee and is binding in its entirety.

Recommendations and opinions have no binding force but allow the institutions to make a statement and to offer guidelines for action. 

European Court of Justice

The European Court of Justice is the judicial institution of the Union, which was established in 1952 with headquarters in Luxembourg.

The court consists of three jurisdictions: the Court, the General Court and the Tribunal. Its main task is to review the legality of the acts of the institutions of the Union and to ensure uniform interpretation and application of European Union legislation.

The case law of the European Court of Justice, along with the treaties, regulations, directives and decisions, constitute the EU legislation.

More information can be found at:


For more information:

Summary of EU legislation

Database access to European Union legislation

Common portal for national legislations of Member States

Official portal of the European Court of Justice

European e-Justice Portal