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LAW Foreign Legislation

Foreign law is the domestic, national or internal law of a country or jurisdiction.This guide is intended to help researchers locate the legislation of foreign jurisdictions.

About the EU

The European Union (EU) began in 1952 with 6 members and now has 28 member countries that share sovereignty and communicate using 23 official languages. The criteria for membership includes maintaining democracy and the rule of law, having a functioning market economy and the ability to implement EU laws. There are five major insitutions in the EU: the Commission, the Council, the European Parliament, the Court of Justice and the Court of Auditors.  The principle of solidarity arises from a desire for peace and prosperity that was a reaction to the World Wars. Legislative areas affect single market, education, health and the environment. International trade rules may include a single import tariff, the same regulatory standards and the same remedial actions (i.e., antidumping).

EU Treaties and Legislation

Treaties are the primary legislation and EU treaties are the basis for democratic cooperation built on law. The first treaty was the Treaty of Rome and the Lisbon Treaty is the latest constitutional treaty. EU law may be found using language, terminology or topics from the governing treaty. A EU statutory text is considered secondary legislation and includes regulations, directives and decisions.Legislative process and the participation of a European Parliament take place under a complex set of rules.

Intergovernmental Conferences (IGC) are summit meetings that are held as the formal procedure for negotiation and proposing amendments to the founding treaties. They are a source of information for changes to the operational framework.

Key Players

The legislative process is a co-decision function with the Parliament and Council exercising together in relationship to proposals, mostly from the Commission. Law-making procedures at the EU primarily involve these three bodies:

Selected EU Committees & Agencies

The EU also has committees that may be consulted for opinions. These include:

Finding EU Publications

There are open sources with bibliographic tools for locating documents:

Selected Books

Other Databases for finding EU Legal Materials