European legislative process
Produced in partnership with Pagonia Basia, EU specialist

The following Public Law practice note produced in partnership with Pagonia Basia, EU specialist provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • European legislative process
  • EU law
  • Primary legislation
  • Secondary legislation
  • Tertiary legislation
  • EU legislative procedures
  • Ordinary legislative procedure
  • Special legislative procedures
  • Revision, consolidation, codification and recasting of EU legislation

European legislative process

EU law

The EU’s core objective of achieving European unification is based exclusively on the rule of law. EU law is an independent legal system which takes precedence over national legal provisions. A number of key players are involved in the process of implementing, monitoring and further developing this legal system for which a variety of procedures apply. In general, EU law is composed of three different but interdependent types of legislation, ie primary, secondary and tertiary. The combined law of the EU is also known as the ‘acquis communautaire’.

Categories and areas of EU competence

Competence is a term used to denote the power of the EU to undertake specific action where such power is conferred upon it by the Member States in the EU Treaties. The EU’s competences are set out in the EU Treaties, which provide the basis for any actions the EU institutions take. The EU can only act within the limits of the competences conferred on it by the Treaties, and where the Treaties do not confer competences on the EU they remain with the Member States.

The Treaty of Lisbon introduced different categories of competences, consisting of:

  1. exclusive competences

  2. shared competences

  3. competences pertaining to the EU’s economic and employment policies

  4. competences under Customs Freight Simplified Procedures, and

  5. supporting competences

Articles 3–6 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

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