Sources of the EU Law. Secondary legislation. Regulations and Directives

Topics: European Union, European Economic Community, European Parliament Pages: 18 (5037 words) Published: November 24, 2013
Sources of the EU Law. Secondary legislation. Regulations and Directives 1. European Union Law

The European Union Law is an unique legal phenomenon developed in the process of European integration within the framework of the European Communities and the European Union; a result of the implementation of the supranational authority of the European institutions. The European Union law is a specific legal system having independent sources and principles that developed at the border-line of international law and domestic law of the EU’s Member States. The autonomy of the European Union law is affirmed by a case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Communities.

The term “European Union law” has been used since the beginning of 1990s after the emergence of the European Union. Previously, this legal system was called “European Communities law” or “European Community law’ though these concepts are not equivalent to the concept of “European Union law’. Some scholars consider “European Union law” a narrower synonym of a wider “European law” concept.

The European Community law (the EC law) is the core of the European Union law and the European communities law. The EC law is based on its legal principles – the most general propositions determining meaning, contents, implementation, and development of all other norms of the EC law.

Principles of the EC law are divided into functional and general ones. The functional principles include the principle of the supremacy of the EC law and the principle of direct effect of the EC law. The principle of supremacy means the priority of the norms of the EC law over the norms of the national legislation of Member States, i.e., the latter should not contradict the former. The principle of direct effect means the direct application of the EC law on the territories of Member States that the norms of the Community law are implanted into national legal systems without any transformation. These principles have been developed in judicial legislation by the Court of Justice in interpreting the constituent documents of the organization. General principles of the EC law include the principle of the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the principle of proportionality, the principle of nondiscrimination, the principle of subsidiary, and a number of procedural principles.

2. Sources of the European Union Law

There are three sources of European Union law: primary law, secondary law and supplementary law. The main sources of primary law are the Treaties establishing the European Union. Secondary sources are legal instruments based on the Treaties and include unilateral secondary law and conventions and agreements. Supplementary sources are elements of law not provided for by the Treaties. This category includes Court of Justice case-law, international law and general principles of law.

2.1. Sources of primary law
Primary sources, or primary law, come mainly from the founding Treaties, namely the Treaty on the EU and the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU. These Treaties set out the distribution of competences between the Union and the Member States and establishes the powers of the European institutions. They therefore determine the legal framework within which the EU institutions implement European policies. Moreover, primary law also includes:

the amending EU Treaties;
the protocols annexed to the founding Treaties and to the amending Treaties; the Treaties on new Member States’ accession to the EU.

2.1.1. Primary Law
Primary law (primary or original source of law) is the supreme source of law of the European Union (EU), that is it prevails over all other sources of law. The Court of Justice is responsible for securing that primacy through a variety of forms of action. Primary law consists mainly of the Treaties of the EU. These Treaties contain formal and substantive provisions, which frame the implementation of the policies of the European institutions....
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