The starting point of the EU law are treaties which are known as primary law and form the basis for legislation adopted by the members states which is known as secondary law. Primary law consists of agreements between EU member states, the treaties establishing the European Communities with annexes, protocols and amending treaties. Treaties have been specified by secondary law. Regulations, directives and decisions are binding. Recommendations and opinions are not binding.
Regulations are binding in their entirety and directly applicable in all member states. They are published in series L of the Official Journal of the European Union. Thus published, regulations automatically become part of the legal system of the member states without the need for harmonisation.
Directives are binding on the member states but the member states can decide upon the implementing measures (law, government regulation, etc.). Decisions are binding on those to whom they are addressed – individuals, enterprises, EU institutions or member states. Recommendations are non-binding acts by which the European Union means to achieve certain ends without imposing a mandatory legal framework. Opinions reflect the views of the EU in certain issues but may not suggest any corresponding actions.
The list on this page offers links to major EU databases and to document registers of EU institutions.
- Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, Paris 1951 (entered into force 1952)
- Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, Roma 1957 (entered into force 1958)
- Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, Roma 1957 (entered into force 1958)
- Treaty on European Union, Maastricht 1992 (entered into force1993)
- Consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (appeared in Official Journal of the EU 26 Oct 2012 C 326/01 and C 326/02)
- Merger Treaty, 1965 (enterd into fource 1967) - The Treaty established the Council of the European Communities and the Commission of the European Communities.
- Single European Act, 1986 (entered into fource 1987)
- Treaty of Amsterdam amending the Treaty on European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts, 1997 (entered into fource 1999)
- Treaty of Nice amending the Treaty on European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts, 2001 (entered into fource 2003)
- Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, signed at Lisbon, 13 December 2007
- European Commission: Law
- EUR-lex: Access to EU law
- Lawmaking procedures - follow the life cycle of a legislative proposal from the moment it is launched until the final law is adopted.
- JURE case law
- N-Lex - A Common Gateway to National Law
- Access to the Official Journal
- Legislative train - European Parliament database monitoring the EU legislative process.
- Legislative Observatory (OEIL) – A database managed by the European Parliament, containing legislative preparatory documents and enabling it to monitor the legislative activities of the EU institutions, assess the contribution of the European Parliament and its committees, the European Commission's annual action plan and the proposals of the Council presidencies.
- VoteWatch.eu - an independent European Parliament voting page
- IPEX - The platform for EU Interparliamentary Exchange.
- Eudralex - EU pharmaceutical legislation
- Judgments from the historic case-law in the languages of the 2004, 2007 and 2013 accession countries
- Treaties Office Database of the European External Action Service
- European Council: Search the Treaties and Agreements database