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The ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ European Union Legislation Essay

Sources of law of the European Union are among three things namely primary sources , sources derived and subsidiary law. Primary sources, or primary law, mainly comprise the founding treaties of the European Union. Derivative sources are constituted by elements of law based on treaties. Included in the legislation, the legislation unilateral and conventional law. Subsidiary sources are formed by elements of the law that are not provided by the Treaties. It is the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice, international law and general principles of law. We will here make an overview of the different types of acts which are including in the primary and secondary legislation of the European Union. Primary law is found mainly in the Treaties Primary legislation includes in particular the Treaties and other agreements having similar status.

Primary legislation is agreed by direct negotiation between the governments of Member State. Treaties “founders” which establishing various European Communities are : -The Treaty of Paris which was signed on 18 April 1951 by the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands for a period of 50 years. It entered into force on 23 July 19521. It organizes the sharing of production and consumption of coal and steel between the six signatory countries establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). This treaty is considered one of the founding acts of the European Union.

-The Treaties of Rome, March 25, 1957. Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands signed two treaties in Rome: the first creates the European Economic Community (EEC) and the second creates the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom). The European Economic Community (EEC) was a supranational organization established in 1957 to conduct an economic integration (including the common market between Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands).

Euratom (or EAEC European Atomic Energy Community) is a public body responsible for coordinating European research programs on nuclear energy. It aims “training and rapid growth of nuclear industries’ within the signatory countries, which then sought to limit their energetic dependence

These two treaties entered into force on 14 January 1958. New Communities then appeared as a factor of economic empowerment for the Member States.

-The Treaty on European Union (TEU), signed in Maastricht on 7 February 1992, entered into force on 1 November 1993. The Treaty on European Union (TEU), marks a new stage in European integration since it allows the introduction of political integration. It creates a European Union consisting of three pillars: the European Communities, Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (JHA). The treaty: established European citizenship, strengthened the powers of the European Parliament and launches the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). In addition, the EEC became the European Community (EC).

European primary law is also composed of amending treaties:

-The Single European Act (often abbreviated Single Act or SEA) was signed by 12 States on 17 and 28 February 1986 respectively, Luxembourg and The Haye1 and entered into force on 1 July 1987. It is called the Single European Act because it is the first found in a treaty Community provisions (supra) and intergovernmental arrangements (international).’s Single act amended the Treaty of Rome of 1957 instituting the European Economic Community (EEC), has detailed objectives and paved the way for the realization of market unique.L single Act of 1986 is characterized as much by the desire of the European Union through the completion of the single market and updating the Community institutions. It includes a review of institutions, new areas of expertise and the new European political cooperation. It follows the European debate of the 1980s. -The Treaty of Amsterdam was signed on 2 October 1997 and entered into force on 1 May 1999.

It amended the Treaty establishing the European Community (EC Treaty) and the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht Treaty or, EU Treaty). His goal was to create an “area of freedom, security and justice”, outlining the principle of judicial cooperation, which will be reaffirmed at the Tampere European Council (1999). In the Maastricht Treaty, it was expected later revision in 1996 and thus stands an intergovernmental conference to amend the Treaty of Maastricht. – The Nice Treaty is a treaty signed on 26 February 2001 by the Member States of the European Union (EU), which came into force on 1 February 2003 and replaced by the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009. He stared at the principles and methods for changing the institutional system As the EU expands with the entry of Central European Countries and Eastern Europe.

Indeed, in the perspective of enlargement to 27 Member States by 2007, the terms of decision-making within the institutions had to be adjusted. A new distribution of votes allocated to each State Council, and the definition of a new calculation of qualified majority seemed necessary for the proper functioning of this body. primary law is also made additional treaties, which provide sectoral changes founding treaties: -the treaty “merging the executive” (8 April 1965); -Treaty amending certain budgetary provisions of the EU Treaties (22 April 1970); -the Brussels Treaty amending certain financial provisions of the Treaties establishing the Community and Court of Auditors (22 July 1975); -“Act” concerning the election of representatives of the Parliament by direct universal suffrage (20 September 1976).

Finally, the primary legislation is also composed of the accession treaties:

-the United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland and Norway (22 January 1972); – Greece (28 May 1979); Spain and Portugal (12 June 1985); – Austria, Finland, Norway and Sweden (24 June 1994); -Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia (16 April 2003); -Romania and Bulgaria (25 April 2005). Acts of Accession of Norway on 22 January 1972 and 24 June 1994 are never entered into force. A treaty was signed on 1 February 1985 creating a special status for Greenland.

In a nutshell, the secondary law we shall be looking at comprises: Regulations – binding in all the member states Directives – binding as to result but states may choose method of implementation Decisions – binding on those to whom they are addressed Recommendations – not binding Opinions – not binding Case Law – binding in all the member states.

Now a brief description of the primary legislation of the European Union has been made, it can be interesting to speak about the secondary legislation.

It consists of the legal acts adopted by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, under the Treaties, in the areas of EU competence, and the procedures they establish. Two categories of acts can be distinguished: binding acts and non-binding acts.

Binding acts create a legal obligation for all recipients: -Regulation creates upon its publication a uniform rule directly applicable in all Member States. It sets a goal and the means to achieve it, for example in the field of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP); -Directive sets targets to be achieved by the Member States, to whom it delegates the choice of means. It provides a deadline for transposition into national law (adoption of a national legal act). The directive is used to harmonize national legislation, including the completion of the single market (standards relating to product safety, for example); -Decision can regulate specific situations. It only requires whom it is addressed specifically (some Member States, companies or individuals). Thus, the principle of free competition, the European Commission may authorize or prohibit public support of a Member State to a company.

Non-binding acts do not create legal obligations: -Resolutions, declarations, agreements, recommendations, deliberations, findings, codes of conduct, actions or common positions have political value. They express the position of the institutions of a given problem. They illuminate the Court of Justice for its assessment of the scope of a binding Community act;

-European Commission produced numerous documents that contribute to the development of European standards involving governments, MEPs, professional bodies, associations: green books that start a debate, white papers that propose a solution, reports, communications, legislative proposals, work plans, action plans. They are called “preparatory acts”, since upstream decision-making process; -European Parliament adopts reports on current issues and resolutions expressing its point of view; -The Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions adopted an advisory opinion sometimes mandatory, sometimes optional.


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