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European Union Research: E.U. Treaties & Legislation

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E.U. Treaties

Treaties are the primary legislation of the E.U.  European Union policy areas and legislation must be based on treaties approved by EU member countries.  Treaties are amended to include new member states and to introduce new areas of policy and cooperation.

Resources for finding E.U. treaties include: 

  • Consolidated treaties and guides incorporating, repealing, amending, and renumbering sections of earlier treaties.
  • Eur-Lex Treaties, including
    • Rome: Established the EEC and the Euratom, extended European economic cooperation beyond the original Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community
    • Maastricht:  Treaty on European Union, 1993, set up a common foreign and security policy and common home affairs policy
    • Amsterdam: 1999, increased transparency, consolidated the original treaties preparing for additional member states
    • Nice:  2003, enlargement and enhanced Parliamentary role
    • Lisbon:  Dec. 2009, clarifies which powers belong to the EU and which belong to member states, greater role for European Parliament and for national parliaments, new positions of President of the European Council, Commission Vice-President, EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy
  • Europa Guides to EU Treaties

E.U. Legislation

European Union legislation is published in the Official Journal of the European Union.  There is no code, although there are unofficial consolidated versions of legislation incorporating amendments with original text.

  • L series:  Publishes legislation and final adopted texts
  • C series:  Publishes proposed and preliminary legislation

The electronic version from Eur-Lex is now considered official: see 2013 O.J. (L69) 1.

Types of legislation published include regulations (binding on member states), directives (member states must enact implementing legislation),and decisions (binding only on addressed parties).

E.U. Legislation can be found via: 

  • European Union Official Documents includes a search form for the Official Journal by citation, plus links to registers of documents for EU institutions.
  • Consolidated Legislation in Force: Browse legislation in the Directory of EU Consolidated legislation by subject or search the consolidated texts.
  • Eur-Lex: The European Union Law site includes the Official Journal by date in pdf, with a search for legislation with results available in html and pdf.  
  •    Advanced search options include document type, theme, and subject matter.
  •    Search results include text of the documents, EUROVOC classifications for finding additional documents on the topic, procedural history with links, and related legislation (amendments, previous legislation, legal basis treaties, cited instruments, and national implementing measures).
  • Eur-Lex Thematic Files: Arranged by EUROVOC keywords, includes selected documents (legislation and caselaw) on EU topics.
  • Summaries of EU Legislation: Summaries of legislation by policy area, with links to legislation.
  • Commercial Sources for European Union legislation include:
    • Westlaw:  EU-LEG database
    • Lexis: EUR-LEX databases available in under Area of Law by Topic>International Law
    • Justis: Official Journal 1998-current, CELEX database 1951-current, search full-text, or by year or subject 


Legislative procedure and document history is also available:

Subject Guide