European Union law Is a body of treaties and legislation, such asRegulations and Directives, which have direct effect or indirect effect on thelaws of European Union member states. The three sources of European Unionlaw are primary law, secondary law and supplementary law. The main sourcesof primary law are the Treaties establishing the European Union. Secondarysources include regulations and directives which are based on the Treaties. Thelegislature of the European Union is principally composed of the EuropeanParliament and the Council of the European Union, which under the Treatiesmay establish secondary law to pursue the objective set out in the Treaties.European Union law is applied by the courts of member states and wherethe laws of member states provide for lesser rights European Union law can beenforced by the courts of member states. In case of European Union law whichshould have been transposed into the laws of member states, such asDirectives, the European Commission can take proceedings against themember state under the EC Treaty. The Court of Justice of the EuropeanUnion is the highest court able to interpret European Union law.Supplementary sources of European Union law including case law by the Courtof Justice, international law and general principles of European Union law.07/04/2013 JOSE DE LA PUERTA 2
There are three sources of European Union law: primary law, secondary law andsupplementary law. The main sources of primary law are the Treaties establishingthe European Union (TEU). Secondary sources are legal instruments based on theTreaties as well as unilateral secondary law and conventions and agreements.Supplementary sources are laws which are not provided for by the TEU,including case law by the Court of Justice of the European Union, internationallaw and general principles of European Union law. 07/04/2013 JOSE DE LA PUERTA 3
The principle Treaties that form the European Union began with common rules forcoal and steel, and then atomic energy, but more complete and formal institutionswere established through the Treaties of Rome 1957 and the Maastricht Treaty1992. Minor amendments were made during the 1960s and 1970s. Majoramending treaties were signed to complete the development of a single, internalmarket in the Single European Act 1986, to further the development of a moresocial Europe in the Treaty of Amsterdam 1997, and to make minor amendmentsto the relative power of member states in the EU institutions in the Treaty of Nice2001 and the Treaty of Lisbon 2007. Since its establishment, more member stateshave joined through a series of accession treaties, fromthe UK, Ireland, Denmark and Norway in 1972 . Greece in1979, Spain and Portugal 1985, Austria, Finland, Norway and Sweden in 1994,the CzechRepublic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004, and Romania and Bulgaria in 2007. Greenland signeda Treaty in 1985 giving it a special status. 07/04/2013 JOSE DE LA PUERTA 4
The legislature of the European Union is principally composed of the EuropeanParliament and the Council of the European Union. European Union treaties allowfor the adoption of legislation and other legal acts so as to allow the EU to pursuethe objective set out in the treaties. These are secondary European Union law. Thetreaties have not established any single body as a legislature. Instead legislativepower is spread out among the Institutions of the European Union, although theprincipal actors are the Council of the European Union (or Council of Ministers), theEuropean Parliament and the European Commission. The relative power of aparticular institution in the legislative process depends on the legislative procedureused, which in turn depends on the policy area to which the proposed legislation isconcerned. In some areas, they participate equally in the making of EU law, inothers the system is dominated by the Council. Which areas are subject to whichprocedure is laid down in the treaties of the European Union.Directives, regulations, decisions, recommendations and opinions constitute EuropeanUnion legislation, which must have a legal basis in specific Treaty articles, or primaryEuropean law. 07/04/2013 JOSE DE LA PUERTA 5
The Court of Justice of the European Union is established through article 19 ofthe Maastricht Treaty and includes the Court of Justice, the General Court andspecialized courts. Its duty is to “ensure that in the interpretation and application ofthe Treaties the law is observed”. The Court of Justice consists of one judge fromeach European Union member state, and the General Court includes at least onejudge from each member state. Judges are appointed for a renewable six yearterm. It is the role of the Court of Justice to rule, in accordance with the Treaties, oncases brought by a member state, a European Union institution or a legal person.The Court of Justice can also issue preliminary rulings, at the request of a memberstate’s courts or tribunals, on the interpretation of European Union law or thevalidity of acts by European Union institutions. The Court of Justice can rule in othercases if they are provided for in the Treaties 07/04/2013 JOSE DE LA PUERTA 6
European Union law is applied by the courts of member states and where the lawsof member states provide for lesser rights than European Union law, EuropeanUnion law can be enforced by the courts of member states. In case of EuropeanUnion law which should have been transposed into the laws of member states,such as Directives, the European Commission can take proceedings against themember state under the EC Treaty. The Court of Justice of the European Union isthe highest court able to interpret European Union law. European Union law whichcan be directly enforced by courts in member states is said to have direct effect. 07/04/2013 JOSE DE LA PUERTA 7
The principles of European Union law are rules of law which have been developedby the European Court of Justice that constitute unwritten rules which are notexpressly provided for in the treaties but which affect how European Union law isinterpreted and applies. In formulating these principles, the courts have drawn on avariety of sources, including: public international law and legal doctrines andprinciples present in the legal systems of European Union member states and in thejurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. Accepted general principlesof European Union Law include fundamental rights, proportionality, legalcertainty, equality before the law and subsidiary.Proportionality is recognized one of the general principles of European Union lawby the European Court of Justice since the 1950s.[According to the general principleof proportionality the lawfulness of an action depends on whether it wasappropriate and necessary in order to achieve the objectives legitimately pursued.When there is a choice between several appropriate measures the least onerousmust be adopted, and any disadvantage caused must not be disproportionate tothe aims pursued.]The principle of proportionality is also recognized in Article 5 ofthe EC Treaty, stating that "any action by the Community shall not go beyond whatis necessary to achieve the objectives of this Treaty". 07/04/2013 JOSE DE LA PUERTA 8
Fundamental rights, as in human rights, were first recognised by the EuropeanCourt of Justice in the late 60s and fundamental rights are now regarded asintegral part of the general principles of European Union law. As such theEuropean Court of Justice is bound to draw inspiration from the constitutionaltraditions common to the member states. Therefore the European Court ofJustice cannot uphold measures which are incompatible with fundamentalrights recognised and protected in the constitutions of member states. TheEuropean Court of Justice also found that "international treaties for theprotection of human rights on which the member states have collaborated or ofwhich they are signatories, can supply guidelines which should be followedwithin the framework of Community law.07/04/2013 JOSE DE LA PUERTA 9
The core of European Union economic and social policy is summed up under the ideaof the four freedoms - free movement of goods, capital, services and persons.Sometimes, they are also counted up as five freedoms, namely the free movement ofgoods, capital, services, workers and the freedom of establishment, but the differenceis merely in denomination, they both refer to the same areas of substantive law. 07/04/2013 JOSE DE LA PUERTA 10
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