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IMPORTANT NOTICE :
THE INFORMATION BELOW IS NOT FULLY UP TO DATE
THIS IS AN OLD BLOG NOT REFLECTING CHANGES
MADE BY THE LISBON TREATY
which came into force December 1, 2009.

As found in the Wikipedia article on the Lisbon Treaty, these major changes are: * There is now a European Council President who has a 2½ year term and de facto replaces the previously existing rotating presidency. * A single foreign affairs post has been created by merging the External Relations Commissioner with the CFSP High Representative. * The Charter of Fundamental [Human] Rights from 2000 has been made legally binding with opt-out provisions for some countries. * The previously existing three "Pillars" of the EU have been merged into 1 legal person increasing the EU's competence to sign treaties. * The European Council has been separated officially from the Council of Ministers. Legislative meetings of the Council of Ministers are to be held in public. * The European Union Parliament has been made more powerful through the extension of codecision with the Council of Ministers to more areas of policy. * A clause for withdrawal of a country from the European Union has been added. * From 2014 onwards, more double majority voting applies to new areas of policy in the European Council and the Council of Ministers. * National parliaments have been more engaged in EU processes by expanding the time for their scrutiny of pending legislation and enabling them to jointly compel the European Commission to review or withdraw legislation. * Mutual solidarity is obliged if a member state is the object of a terrorist attack or the victim of a natural or man-made disaster. * A Citizens' Initiative is to be considered by the European Commission if it is signed by 1 million citizens. * Combating climate change is explicitly stated as an objective. * Created the basis for eventual establishment of the office of an EU Public Prosecutor. * A European External Action Service (EEAS) was established.

For other important changes see also e.g.
OMM on the Lisbon Treaty.
We are also working to correct or replace all defective links. Thank you.

EU Legal blog postings are found BELOW these EU Reference Materials

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The Legal System of the European Union

EU LEGAL SYSTEM
+ Law-Related Searches


The EU legal portal is EUR-Lex, which provides free access to the EU law database in 20 languages.

The European Union is a democracy governed by the rule of law. Article 6(1) of the EU Treaty provides: "The Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States."

Yet, the precise legal structure of the EU is still a complex one due to the history of its development.

Primary sources for the legal system of the EU are the Treaties, especially those relating to the Community (EEC, EC) and to the Union (EU), which are found online in both original as well as consolidated form. Consolidated texts are useful as they reflect amendments made by later treaties. However, such consolidations have no force of law. Only the original treaty text is the actual law.

One great advantage of the EU Constitution, if ratified, is its official consolidation of the legal structure of the EU into one document (except for EURATOM).

Without a constitution, the EU is governed by the community acquis (acquis communautaire), which is
"the body of common rights and obligations which bind all the Member States together within the European Union. It is constantly evolving and comprises: - the content, principles and political objectives of the Treaties; the legislation adopted in application of the treaties and the case law of the Court of Justice; the declarations and resolutions adopted by the Union; measures relating to the common foreign and security policy; measures relating to justice and home affairs; international agreements concluded by the Community and those concluded by the Member States between themselves in the field of the Union's activities."

Laws (Acts) of the European Union are initiated by the EU Commission and approved by codecision of both the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament (see Articles 251-254 of the EC Treaty and glossary, step-by-step and law-making flow chart).

Several types of secondary legislation also exist (Article 249 of the EC Treaty):

Regulations. "A regulation shall have general application. It shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States."

Directives. "A directive shall be binding, as to the result to be achieved, upon each Member State to which it is addressed, but shall leave to the national authorities the choice of form and methods."

Decisions. "A decision shall be binding in its entirety upon those to whom it is addressed."

Recommendations and opinions. "Recommendations and opinions shall have no binding force."

General Law Searches

Search by EU Title or Text
Search by Subject Matter
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Search the Official Journal

The Official Journal (OJ) publishes the laws of the European Union, which have primacy over the national laws of its Member States. The OJ is published daily in 20 languages, consisting of the "L series" on Legislation and the "C series on Information, Preparatory Acts and Notices. Both series were introduced in 1968. The "C series" includes also documents published only digitally. Prior to 1968 there was only one series, sometimes referred to unofficially as the "B series" or as the "P series". The Supplement S to the OJ (which calls for tenders) is published in the TED database in concert with SIMAP
, the gateway to EU public procurement.


Specific Legal Searches

Search by Number
for a EU Regulation, EU Directive, EU Decision, COM final, or European Court case by Year and Number
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European Court Reports

All case-law was published in the single-volume European Court Reports, which, after the recent creation of the Court of First Instance in 1989, now consists of three volumes: I) judgments and opinions of the Court of Justice and opinions of the Advocates-General, II) judgments of the Court of First Instance are published in Volume II, and III) there is a separate publication for the case-law in staff cases: Court of Justice (Sole volume until 1990; Volume I from 1990) Court of First Instance (Volume II from 1990) Staff Cases (from 1995)

To consult a procedure using an exact reference, one can search by procedure reference, by dossier reference and by document reference in the European Parliament, in the European Commission, in the Council of the Union, in other EU institutions, bodies and in legislative acts.

To obtain information on interinstitutional activities and related procedures, one can search by rapporteur, by committee of Parliament, or political group; by Commission Directorate-General, or Council concerned; by subject: by main topic or by words in title of topic; by family or type of procedure; by stage reached in procedure; by event date: actual or forecast; or by legal basis.

Historical Searches

Search by CELEX number

CELEX (Communitatis Europeae LEX) was the previous official fee-based legal database of the EC. See the CELEX manual. It is no longer updated.


The EU System of Government


The European Union System of Government

This is a general summary. Details and more links are found further below on this page.


The democratic system of government of the European Union is unique, because it is a specially-designed "pooling" of sovereignty. Through treaties, agreed to by the presidents and prime ministers of the EU Member States and ratified by their national parliaments, Member States delegate some (but not all) of their national decision-making powers to shared institutions at the EU, while keeping their own national sovereignty at home intact.

EU institutions

The powers and duties of EU institutions reflect this special situation, involving a system of political "checks and balances" which was designed to make EU integration possible.

The European Parliament of 732 members represents the citizens of the European Union. MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) are elected by direct popular vote in each Member State. As a product of the historical development of the EU, the EU Parliament does not itself propose laws. Rather, through "codecision" with the Council of the European Union, the Parliament has the power to amend and adopt laws initiated by the EU Commission, which has the greater resources and personnel required for legislative research work and for interchange with the Council of the European Union.

The Council of the European Union is the major policy-maker of the EU and has the power of codecision on legislation, a power which it shares with Parliament. The Council represents the governments of the individual Member States and is composed of Ministers from those Member States, who meet in nine different configurations (see further below).

The European Commission of 25 commissioners (one per Member State) is nominated by the Council of the EU and the Member States, subject to approval by the European Parliament. The European Commission serves as the executive body of the EU. Through its ca. 24,000 employees, it runs the day-to-day business of the European Union, initiating legislation and applying the treaties of the EU to make sure that regulations, directives, and decisions of the EU are observed by Member States.

The Court of Justice (Curia) of 25 Judges (one per Member State) and 8 Advocates-General is responsible for upholding the rule of European Union law in Member States of the EU in cases involving governments or corporations. Since 1988 there is also a lower Court of First Instance.

The Court of Auditors checks income and expenditures within the EU budget.

The European Ombudsman is the office for complaints concerning EU maladministration.

The European Data Protection Supervisor observes to make sure that individual privacy rights are respected by EU institutions and bodies when dealing with personal data.

Financial Bodies

The European Central Bank guides European monetary policy;

The European Investment Bank invests in EU projects. It is also the majority shareholder in the European Investment Fund, which specializes in venture capital instruments and guarantee instruments for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Consultative Bodies

The European Economic and Social Committee is an advisory body which represents "organised civil society" consisting of employers, trade unions, farmers, consumers and other interest groups.

The Committee of the Regions is an advisory body of regional and local authorities.

Interinstitutional Bodies

The Office for Official Publications of the European Communities produces and distributes all EU publications, both paper and digital, and including websites and web-related databases.

The European Communities Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) prepares open competitions to select highly qualified staff for recruitment to all institutions of the European Union. This is a new body which only became operational in January, 2003.

Decentralized Bodies

Community agencies (see EU agencies further below) handle specific technical, scientific or management tasks.

Agencies of the Common Foreign and Security Policy The European Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and the European Union Satellite Centre (EUSC) handle specific tasks relating to the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).

Agencies for Police and Judicial Co-operation in criminal matters Europol (European Police Office) and Eurojust (European body for the enhancement of judicial co-operation) help co-ordinate police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters.


EU Institutions and Bodies

The Council of the EU

The Council of the European Union is the main decision-making body of the European Union at the highest level of policy decisionmaking.

The main functions of the Council of the European Union are:

1. The Council approves EU Legislation by codecision with the EU Parliament.
Laws of the European Union are initiated by the European Commission and approved by codecision of the Council and the European Parliament (Article 251 of the EC Treaty) (see glossary, step-by-step process and law-making flow chart).

2. The Council co-ordinates the broad economic policies of Member States.

3. The Council defines and implements the EU's common foreign and security policy, based on guidelines set by the European Council (not the same as the Council of the European Union or the non-EU Council of Europe).

4. The Council concludes, on behalf of the Community and the Union, inter-national agreements between the EU and one or more states or international organisations.

5. The Council co-ordinates the actions of member states and adopts measures in the area of police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters.

6. The Council and the European Parliament constitute the budgetary authority that adopts the Community’s budget. [This is ca. €100 billion.]

Ministers of all the Member States of the EU make up the Council of the European Union, which meets in nine different configurations depending on the subjects being examined. These nine are:

1. General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC)
2. Economic and Financial Affairs Council

"Ecofin" meets monthly covering EU economic policies, including the Euro. It decides mainly by qualified majority, in consultation or codecision with the European Parliament, exception for fiscal matters, which are decided by unanimity.
The Ecofin Council, together with the European Parliament, prepare and adopt the budget of the European Union [now about 100 billion euros]."
3. Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA)
4. Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO)
5. Competitiveness Council
6. Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council (TTE)
7. Agriculture and Fisheries Council
8. Environment Council
9. Education, Youth and Culture Council (EYC)

The Council meets at its seat in Brussels, although meetings are also held in Luxembourg in April, June and October. The agenda of the Council is prepared by the Permanent Representatives Committee of the Member States in Brussels and their assistants, whose work in turn is prepared by ca. 250 committees and groups of delegates from the EU Member States.

The Presidency of the Council rotates every six months to another Member State.

Unanimous Council decisions are required for foreign and security policy and taxation.

Council decisions in other areas are made by qualified majorities, where each Member State has weighted votes related to the size of its population. The weighting of 321 total votes of the ministers in the Council of the European Union pursuant to the Treaty of Nice, effective November 1, 2004, is:
France, Germany, Italy and the UK: 29 weighted votes each
Poland and Spain: 27 votes each
Netherlands: 13 votes
Belgium, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary and Portugal: 12 votes each
Austria and Sweden: 10 votes each
Denmark, Ireland, Lithuania, Slovakia and Finland: 7 votes each
Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg and Slovenia: 4 votes each
Malta: 3 votes
A newly defined qualified majority in the Council is now reached if a majority of Member States (i.e. at least 13) approve and if a minimum of 232 of 321 of the votes (72.27%) is cast in favor... "In addition, a Member State may request verification that the qualified majority includes at least 62% of the Union’s total population. Should this not be the case, the decision will not be adopted." These figures will change through future enlargement, e.g. when Bulgaria and Romania join the EU.

The Court of Auditors

The Court of Auditors is responsible for checking management of the EU budget and the legality of receipts and expenditures.

European Ombudsman

The European Ombudsman is an intermediary between the EU and the complaints of its citizens.

European Data Protection Supervisor

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) insures that EU institutions respect the right to privacy when processing people's personal data.

European Central Bank

The European Central Bank (ECB) manages the Euro currency and frames and implements EU monetary policy.

European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) invests in projects that promote objectives of the European Union.

Advisory Body to the EU:
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)


The European Economic and Social Committee
EESC of 317 members was established by Article 257 of the EC Treaty. and provides Europe's employers, employees and others a formal platform to express their views.

Advisory Body to the EU: The Committee of the Regions (CoR)

The CoR provides local and regional authorities with an EU voice and must be consulted by the Commission and Council if proposals impact regional or local levels, such as regional policy, the environment, education and transport.

Community Agencies (see links)

1. CdT Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union
2. CEDEFOP - European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training
3. CPVO - Community Plant Variety Office
4. EAR -European Agency for Reconstruction
5. EASA - European Aviation Safety Agency
6. ECDC European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

7. EEA - European Environment Agency
8. EFSA European Food Safety Authority
9. EMCDDA European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction

10. EMEA European Medicines Agency
11. EMSA - European Maritime Safety Agency
12. ENISA - European Network and Information Security Agency
13. ERA - European Railway Agency
14. ETF European Training Foundation
15. EUMC - European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia
16. EU-OSHA - European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
17. EUROFOUND - European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions
18. OHIM Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (Trade Marks & Designs)


Agencies of the Common Foreign and Security Policy

European Union Institute for Security Studies
European Union Satellite Centre

Agencies for Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters

Europol
Eurojust

The EU Commission

The Commission of the European Union " upholds the general interest of the Union and is the driving force in the Union's institutional system".

The main functions of the European Commission are:

1. The Commission initiates EU legislation. The Commission proposes new EU laws, which are sent to the Council of the European Union and to the European Parliament for amendment and approval by codecision. (Article 251 of the EC Treaty, see glossary, step-by-step process and law-making flow chart).

2. The Commission is the executive body of the EU. It implements EU policies and manages the EU budget.

3. The Commission enforces EU treaties. The Commission enforces EU law (jointly with the Court of Justice) and can institute legal proceedings against Member States or corporations.

4. The Commission represents the EU in international affairs by negotiating international agreements, mainly those relating to trade and co-operation.

The European Commission is seated in Brussels. The Commission also has offices in Luxembourg, representations in all EU countries and delegations in many capital cities around the world.

Since 2004 the Commission is made up of 25 members, one per Member State, who meet once a week to adopt proposals, finalize policy papers and make decisions, which are taken by simple majority vote.


The President of the Commission serves for 2 years and is nominated by the Council. Each Member State then nominates a Commissioner, who serves a renewable term of 5 years. The EU Parliament must approve the appointment of the President and the other Commission members. Otherwise, as happened in 2004, the selection process must be repeated until suitable nominees are found.

The present Commission took office on November 22, 2004.The former Prime Minister of Portugal, José Manuel Durão Barroso, is the current President of the European Commission. He assigns the areas of responsibility to Commissioners.

Each Commissioner appoints his or her own cabinet staff of a small group of counsellors. Commissioners act for the EU and not for their own Member States.

Directorates-General (DGs)

The work of the Commission is carried out by a staff of ca. 24,000 employees divided up into 36 Directorates-General (DGs) plus special services such as the Legal Service, which acts as in-house consel to the Commission but is expressly NOT a legal information and documentation centre. The 36 DGs are headed by a Director-General who is accountable to one of the Commissioners.

Directorates-General draft the Commission's legislative proposals after extensive consultations with appropriate bodies, depending on the legislation involved, e.g. with representatives of European industry, organizations, employers and employees, and with ministries of the Member States.

Proposed legislation is circulated in the Commission for amendments. It is then checked by the Commission's Legal Service and approved by the Commissioners staff.

The legislation is then placed on the agenda for a forthcoming Commission meeting, where the legislation is presented and discussed. If agreement on the legislation is achieved, the Commission adopts the proposal and it is sent to the Council and the European Parliament for consideration.

EU Court of Justice

The EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg consists of 25 Judges (one per Member State) and 8 Advocates-General, appointed for renewable terms of six years.

The EU Court of Justice has jurisdiction to hear matters involving EU Treaties and laws promulgated by EU institutions which impact Member States. Individuals have little access to this court and should generally address EU complaints to the European Commission or to the European Ombudsman.

The Court of Justice has competence to hear various causes of action: 1) requests for a preliminary ruling (by national courts), 2) proceedings against Member States for failure to fulfill an EU obligation, 3) proceedings for annulment of an EU law, 4) proceedings brought against the European Parliament, the Council or the Commission for failure to act, and 5) appeals against decisions of the Court of First Instance, created in 1989 to hear certain cases.

Court procedure in a case is as follows.

1) Initially, a case is submitted to the registry and a specific judge and advocate-general are assigned to the case.

2) Parties to the case then submit written statements. In a written report, the judge summarizes these statements and the legal background to the case. Based upon this report, the advocate-general draws conclusions. Based upon these conclusions, the judge makes a draft ruling which is submitted to the other Court members for examination.

3) A public hearing follows, either in plenary session or before chambers of three or five judges, depending on the importance of the case. At the hearing, the attorneys for the parties put their case before the judges and the advocate-general, who can question them.

4) The advocate-general then draws up his or her conclusions. The judges then deliberate and deliver their judgment, which is decided by a majority and pronounced at a public hearing. Dissenting opinions are not expressed.


The EU Parliament

The European Parliament exercises the following principal duties:

1. The Parliament - by codecision with the Council - approves EU Legislation.
Laws of the European Union are initiated by the European Commission and approved by codecision (see glossary, step-by-step and law-making flow chart) of both the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament (Article 251 of the EC Treaty).

2. Parliament approves the EU budget.

3. Parliament creates committees of inquiry. An example is its approval or rejection of nominees to the EU Commission.

4. Parliament assents to important treaties and agreements, e.g. accession of Member States or trade agreements between the EU and non-EU countries.

The 732 Members of the EU Parliament (MEPs) are elected for 5-year terms in separate direct elections held by Member States for the number of MEPs to which each State is entitled, as follows (number of MEPs for each country and its population):

99 MEPs - Germany - 82.0 million
78 MEPs - United Kingdom - 59.4 million
78 MEPs - France - 59.1 million
78 MEPs - Italy - 57.7 million
54 MEPs - Spain - 39.4 million
54 MEPs - Poland - 38.6 million
27 MEPs - Netherlands - 15.8 million
24 MEPs - Belgium - 10.2 million
24 MEPs - Czech Republic - 10.3 million
24 MEPs - Greece - 10.6 million
24 MEPs - Hungary - 10.0 million
24 MEPs - Portugal - 9.9 million
19 MEPs - Sweden - 8.9 million
18 MEPs - Austria - 8.1 million
14 MEPs - Slovakia - 5.4 million
14 MEPs - Denmark - 5.3 million
14 MEPs - Finland - 5.2 million
13 MEPs - Lithuania - 3.7 million
13 MEPs - Ireland - 3.7 million
09 MEPs - Latvia - 2.4 million
07 MEPs - Slovenia - 2.0 million
06 MEPs - Estonia - 1.4 million
06 MEPs - Cyprus - 0.8 million
06 MEPs - Luxembourg - 0.4 million
05 MEPs - Malta - 0.4 million
= 732 MEPs and 450.8 million people

When Romania and Bulgaria join the EU in 2007, they will add populations of 21.6 and 7.6 million to the EU and will have 36 and 18 MEPs in 2007, raising the total number of MEPS to 786 and the population of the EU to 480 million inhabitants.

In 2009 the total number of MEPs will once again be reduced to 732 and each country will then have the following total number of MEPs:
"Germany - 99, France - 72, Italy - 72, United Kingdom - 72, Poland - 50, Spain - 50, Romania - 33, Netherlands - 25, Belgium - 22, Greece - 22, Portugal - 22, Czech Republic - 20, Hungary - 20, Sweden - 18, Austria - 17, Bulgaria - 17, Denmark - 13, Finland - 13, Slovakia - 13, Ireland -12, Latvia - 8, Slovenia - 7, Lithuania - 12, Cyprus - 6, Estonia - 6, Luxembourg - 6, Malta - 5."

Important Things to Know about the European Union


"We must build a kind of United States of Europe."
- Sir Winston Churchill

Things to know about the European Union

EU LANGUAGES

25 EU Member States form the European Union (EU), representing 20 different official EU languages, any and all of which can be used to access the EU Portal on the internet: Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Slovakian, Slovenian, Spanish, and Swedish.

THE EURO CURRENCY

Not all Member States have the EURO currency. Click the link to see a map.

THE EU AND NATO

Not all EU States belong to NATO. Click the link for a corresponding map.

THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE

One institution of the EU is the Council of the European Union. This is NOT the same as the Council of Europe which has 46 members and is independent of the EU, nor is it the same as the European Council, known also as the European Summit, which "brings together the heads of state or government of the European Union and the president of the Commission. It defines the general political guidelines of the European Union. ".


THE EFTA and EEA

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is formed by four states not members of the EU: "Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are members of EFTA.... Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway entered into the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) in 1992, which entered into force in 1994. The current contracting parties are, in addition to the three EFTA states, the European Community and the 25 EC Member States."

Historical Development of the European Union

The search for European integration is older than the European Union. There was e.g. an unsuccessful Pan-European movement prior to World War II.


After WWII, Europe was devastated economically and needed to establish a functioning and integrated European economy.

Toward this goal, six nations (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) created the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) by the Treaty of Paris in 1951, thus realizing a European idea first advanced by Robert Schuman in 1950 on May 9, a day now celebrated as Europe Day. The ECSC's 1st president was Jean Monnet, followed by René Mayer, Paul Finet, Piero Malvestiti and Dino Del Bo. The 50-year ECSC Treaty ceased to exist on July 23, 2002.

Treaties in Rome in 1957 created both EURATOM , the European Atomic Energy Community as well as the EEC, the European Economic Community.

These three communities were effectively merged as to their governing bodies in 1967 by the Merger Treaty which created a single Council and a single Commission for all.

The Single European Act (SEA), took effect on July 1, 1987, and made important modifications toward the achievement of a single internal market, and also moving closer toward a common foreign policy
.

The Maastricht Treaty (Treaty on European Union) was signed in 1992, coming into force on November 1, 1993. It officially created the European Union (EU) as a political and economic body under 3 "pillars" of cooperation: 1) Community - economic, social and environmental cooperation; 2) Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP); and, 3) Justice and Home Affairs, now labelled Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC). See also 3rd pillar.

The Treaty of Amsterdam, (see comprehensive guide)signed in 1997, made significant amendments, on 1) freedom, security and justice, 2) the European Union and the citizen, 3) common foreign policy and, 4) reform of EU institutions. It also renumbered the previous treaties.

The Treaty of Nice (see comprehensive guide) was signed in 2001 and entered into force on February 1, 2003. It made numerous amendments, many of which were required by the enlargement of the EU.

Under the EU Constitution, if ratified, the three-pillar structure would be merged into one structure. The Treaty establishing the EU constitution is available as a book published by the EU Council:
"The signing of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe in Rome on 29 October 2004 was a decisive step for the European Union. The Constitution represents the completion of a long process marked by ever closer integration and by the successive enlargements of the Union. The Constitutional Treaty puts forward a single text to replace, in the interest of readability and clarity, all the existing Treaties, except the Euratom Treaty. It has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union C 310 of 16 December 2004. The Constitutional Treaty is divided into four main parts, which are all of equal rank. A certain number of protocols have been annexed to the Treaty establishing the Constitution and in addition, a large number of declarations have been annexed to the Final Act of the Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC). "

Accession of Members

As noted above, there were
SIX original Member States: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. NINE additional member states were added as follows: Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom joined in 1973 as members 7,8 and 9. Greece joined in 1981 as member 10. Spain and Portugal joined in 1986 as members 11 and 12. German reunification in 1990 added 5 East German States to Germany and ca. 17 million population to the EU. Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined in 1995 as. members 13, 14 and 15.

Norway signed an accession treaty in 1994, which was rejected by Norwegian voters in a referendum. Norway is NOT a member of the European Union.


TEN new Member States joined the EU in 2004 (see Treaty of Accession): Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Malta and Cyprus. The EU presently is made up of a total of 25 Member States.

Candidate Countries

There are four current candidate countries to the EU: Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Turkey.


EU ADVANTAGES, e.g.
Trade Marks & Designs

One example for the great advantages of the European Union is The Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM), which registers trade marks and designs in the EU under a single unified system established by Council Regulation (EC) No 40/94 of December 20, 1993 on the Community trade mark (OJ L 11, 14 January 1994), and Council Regulation (EC) nº 6/2002 of 12 December 2001 on Community designs (OJ L 3, 5 January 2002).

The single EU Trade Mark or EU Design serves not only 450 million people in a single market, but also gives legal protection across all countries of the European Union.
There is:
- A single application
- A single administrative centre
- A single file
- Application in the EU language of choice
- Online filing at OAMI-ONLINE

EU law provides protection for trade marks and designs throughout the European Union.

"[The] sovereign remedy? It is to recreate the European Family, or as much of it as we can, and to provide it with a structure under which it can dwell in peace, in safety and in freedom."

- Sir Winston Churchill

Monday, July 16, 2012

Embedded EULegal Google Groups forum Removed because of Problems for Internet Explorer Users

We have removed the embedded EULegal Google Groups forum because it results in an error message for users browsing with Internet Explorer.

We can not force people to shift to what we regard to be the superior Firefox or Google Chrome browsers, where no problems are encountered.

Anyone wishing to join the forum can still join it at Google Groups.
The forum need not be embedded. It was just an experiment.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

EU Legal Being Updated 2009 to 2010

Due to the Lisbon Treaty, numerous changes will have to be made to the information on this website. We are presently under construction. For the major legal changes, see
OMM on the Lisbon Treaty

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

EU Legal Will Post on European Union Legal Issues

EU Legal will post on European Union legal issues and is additionally intended as a resource for persons researching the European Union.

The ISandIS Network

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