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Introduction to Europe & European Law

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Europe & European Law"— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Europe & European Law
EU Law & Homelessness 16th July 2014 Matt Moriarty, Legal Project Manager & Rebecca Collins, Project Manager

2 What will we cover? I. The European Union II. EU law
Founding principles EU institutions The EU and other European Structures II. EU law Sources of EU law Enforcing EU law Who does EU law apply to? Basic residence rights

3 The EU – Founding Principles
“The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities” EU INSTITUTIONS European Parliament Council of the EU European Commission European Council CJEU Others The fundamental principles of the EU guarantees the free movement of: Persons Goods Services Capital The “Four Freedoms” PARLIAMENT: represents EU citizens through 766 MEPs elected for 5 year terms COMMISSION: Executive and administrative entity Upholds common interest of EU as a whole – “the Guardians of the treaties” Represents EU internationally COUNCIL OF THE EU: (Council of Ministers) Represents 28 national governments Each meeting is attended by each of the national ministers on different thematic areas Helps set agenda and priorities EUROPEAN COUNCIL: Acts as strategic guide for EU Composed of all 28 heads of State (and President of Commission) Meet several times a year at “EU Summits” CJEU: Interprets EU law Settles disputes b/t EU MS, EU institutions and individuals

4 The Origin of EU Law Simplified version
Shows democracy of process & who gets a say Shows rigorous process which each law must pass through before it can be used at the state level – these ideas and rules aren’t just plucked from thin air!

5 Topic II: EU Law Massive topic Very dense & very complex
Break down and present a simple version

Sources of EU law There is a hierarchy of law in the EU: TREATIES REGULATIONS & DIRECTIVES CASELAW DIRECTIVES Lay down certain end results that must be achieved in every Member State. National authorities have to adapt their laws to meet these goals, but are free to decide how to do so. Directives may concern one or more EU countries, or all of them. Transposition period. REGULATIONS Most direct form of EU law As soon as they are passed, they have binding legal force throughout every Member State, on a par with national laws.

7 Relationship with Domestic Law
The EU only legislates in fields where it is empowered to do so ­­­­­by the treaties. Primarily: trade within the EU – i.e. single market legislation; agriculture, fisheries and food; economic policy (mostly for Eurozone countries); international trade; competition; and justice and home affairs (the UK has the right to opt-in or to opt-out in much of the latter field). Note that EU law is supreme in domestic legal systems. In the UK, the European Communities Act 1972 established this. EU law confers rights and obligations on the authorities in each member country, as well as individuals and businesses. The authorities in each member country are responsible for implementing EU legislation in national law and enforcing it correctly, and they must guarantee citizens’ rights under these laws.

8 How to Enforce EU Law Litigation in UK Courts & Tribunals
Provisions in EU regulations, directives and treaties can be used to argue on behalf of clients at – for example – social security tribunals or housing benefit appeals References to the CJEU Domestic Courts, if they are struggling to interpret how EU law works in a specific situation (and there is no previous cases to help them), can refer a set of questions to the CJEU Judges. They will then decide how the provisions of EU law were intended to be interpreted in this situation If it is thought that Member States are not properly implementing EU law then individuals, organisations or other States can write a complaint letter to the European Commission. They will investigate and tell the MS in question what they have to do to become compliant with EU Law. If the MS disagrees, refuses to comply, or takes too long to comply, then the Commission can refer the MS for judgment at the CJEU where Judges can hand down hefty fines (France was forced to pay €78m in 2005 for non-compliance in relation to fisheries law) Infringement proceedings

9 Who does EU Law apply to? Switzerland has special deal with EU
In line to accede are B&H, Serbia, Turkey – newest member = Croatia Internal Market governed by the same basic rules. These rules aim to enable goods, services, capital, and persons to move freely about the EEA in an open and competitive environment, a concept referred to as the four freedoms.

10 Who does EU law apply to (ctd)
Nationals of these countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland The UK is not included!* A8 countries are underlined A2 countries are hyphen-underlined *There are exceptions, but these are very specific and don’t apply in general circumstances

11 A8 and A2 Nationals A8 – Joined in 2004 Czech Republic Lithuania
Poland Estonia Slovakia Hungary Slovenia Latvia A2 – Joined in 2007 Romania Bulgaria

12 Basic Residence Rights
Any EEA national has the right to move to and reside in the UK for up to three months At the end of three months – in order to live here legally – EEA nationals must exercise “treaty rights” Includes part-time work (as little as 10 hours a week) EG. full-time or part-time work with a contract of employment WORKING Working for yourself (even part-time) EG. Starting your own cleaning business SELF-EMPLOYED Being so rich you don’t need to work EG. millionaires and their families SELF-SUFFICIENT Enrolled in full-time or part-time studies that require location in UK STUDYING TREATY RIGHTS After five years of legally living in the UK whilst exercising treaty rights (with some exceptions), EEA nationals can apply for permanent residence

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