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Presentation on theme: "1 EUROPEAN UNION LEGISLATION AND ITS IMPLEMENTATION IN THE UK."— Presentation transcript:


2 2 WHY DO WE NEED TO CONSIDER EU LEGISLATION? It is an integral part of UK law It supersedes national law in the areas in which it applies It affects a wide range of policy areas It affects not only government bodies, companies and voluntary organisations, but us as individuals

3 3 PRIMARY LEGISLATION Primary legislation in the European context consists of: the treaties founding the original communities and the European Union Accession treaties when new member states join Measures introducing institutional changes e.g. Single European Act (1987)

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5 5 EU SECONDARY LEGISLATION Secondary legislation is based on the powers granted in the treaties and other primary legislation There are two major kinds of secondary legislation: Regulations Directives

6 6 REGULATIONS These apply throughout the EU and are binding on all member states They do not require national legislation for their implementation They promote the uniform application of Community law There is a single authoritative legal text in each official language (now 21)

7 7 DIRECTIVES These are binding on member states in terms of what they are trying to achieve There is a time-limit for their implementation Directives are incorporated into the national law of each member state Member states choose the method by which they implement each directive within their own legislation

8 8 EU LAW-MAKING SUMMARY European Commission proposes European Parliament considers and amends Council of the European Union decides, usually jointly with the European Parliament European Court of Justice interprets

9 9 EUROPEAN COMMISSION Commissioners are drawn from member states but serve the EU as a whole Commissioners are each given responsibility for a specific policy area The Commission initiates most legislative proposals It consults with member governments and interested bodies on proposed legislation The Commission also administers agreed policies and ensures that member states enforce Community legislation

10 10 EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT A directly-elected Parliament with 732 MEPs from all 25 member states MEPs sit in political rather than national groupings. The European People’s Party & European Democrats and the Socialist Group are the two dominant parties Proposed legislation is examined by the European Parliament in committees and plenary sessions The Parliament’s role varies according to the subject of the legislation, but it has co-decision rights for most measures and can amend proposed legislation

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12 12 COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION This is the main decision-making body for Community legislation (jointly with the European Parliament in most cases) The Council consists of ministers from member states, representing their national interests The relevant ministers attend to consider particular pieces of legislation e.g. environment ministers Many laws do not require the assent of all countries – they can pass by a qualified majority vote Some topics require unanimous decisions e.g. taxation, immigration, foreign policy

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14 14 EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE The Court ensures that EU legislation is interpreted and applied in the same way throughout the EU It hears cases referred to it from national courts or by the Commission Judgements of the Court of Justice are binding on all courts in member states It has no connection with the European Court of Human Rights (Council of Europe)

15 15 PUBLICATION OF EU LEGISLATION Pre-legislative stage – little information is publicly available before a legislative proposal is published, except for major proposals Legislation in preparation – this covers everything that happens while proposed legislation is being considered by EU institutions Post-legislative stage – once the legislation has been accepted by Council of the European Union and Parliament and is issued as a regulation or directive

16 16 LEGISLATION IN PREPARATION Proposals are published electronically in Official Journal series C and are available on the EUR- Lex website The Commission issues a COM document on the proposal with an explanatory memorandum Pre-Lex ( cfm?CL=en) allows users to trace specific pieces of proposed legislation from initial introduction to adoption or withdrawal.


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19 19 POST-LEGISLATIVE STAGE Agreed Community legislation is not published separately, but appears in the Official Journal Series L The Official Journal Series L is issued in each of the official languages There are 350-400 issues of the Official Journal Series L a year, each containing several pieces of legislation Legislation appears on the EUR-Lex website

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21 21 EUR-LEX Eur-Lex ( is the EU’s legislative portal for all EU legal texts in all official languages. It includes: Official Journal Series L & C Treaties and international agreements All regulations and directives in force Legislation in preparation Case-law (decisions of the Court of Justice) Commission COM documents

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23 23 LEGISLATION IN FORCE EU legislation is affected by subsequent legislation Directory of Community legislation in force is regularly updated and provides access by subject. It is available on EUR-Lex Consolidated legislation is available for all secondary legislation in force on EUR-Lex

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25 25 SUMMARIES OF LEGISLATION Summaries of EU legislation are available on a user- friendly website ( 2,500 fact sheets sum up existing legislation on individual topics and are updated regularly To find legislation on a topic like bathing water you start with one of 32 broad topics, each of which is subdivided Bathing water produces a substantial summary, including the latest directive in 2006 There are links to the full text of Regulations, Directives and Commission (COM) documents

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28 28 ROLE OF NATIONAL PARLIAMENTS No direct involvement of national parliaments in the EU law-making process, but ministers agreeing to legislation in Council are answerable to their national parliaments Logistical problems of consulting and taking into account views of 25 parliaments would be considerable UK Parliament has its own procedures for scrutinising EU policies and legislation

29 29 EU LEGISLATION & THE UK PARLIAMENT The UK Parliament considers EU policies and legislation mainly through debates and committees European Scrutiny Committee (Commons) monitors EU developments and assesses documents, reporting to the House on important issues raised European Standing Committees (Commons) debate documents referred from the European Scrutiny Committee and report to the House EU Select Committee (Lords) examines proposals and has sub-committees for particular policy areas e.g. internal market, social policy

30 30 IMPLEMENTATION OF EU LEGISLATION IN UK LAW EU primary legislation and regulations apply directly to the UK and the authoritative legal text is published in English by the EU EU directives require UK legislation for implementation They may be incorporated into Acts (primary legislation) but are usually implemented through secondary legislation (statutory instruments or Orders in Council)

31 31 EXAMPLE OF UK IMPLEMENTATION 1099 The Miscellaneous Food Additives (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2005 - 12p.: 30 cm. Enabling power: Food Safety Act 1990, ss. 16 (1) (a), 17 (1), 26 (1) (3), 48 (1), sch. 1, para. 1. Issued: 05.05.2005. Made: 04.04.2005. Laid: -. Coming into force: 19.04.2005. Effect: S.I. 1995/3187 amended in relation to England. Territorial extent and classification: E. General. EC note: These Regs, which apply in relation to England only, further amend the 1995 Regs as already amended and implement Directive 2003/114 amending Directive 95/2/EC on food additives other than colours and sweeteners. Price: £3.00 ISBN: 0110727738

32 32 FURTHER INFORMATION EUR-Lex About EU law – Process and Players ( droit_communautaire.htm) House of Commons Information Office Factsheet L11: European Communities legislation ( parliamentary_publications_and_archives/factsheets/l11. cfm) European Information Association Quick Guides (


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