9. The purpose of the citations is to set out the legal basis of the act and the main steps in the procedure leading to its adoption.
The citations, at the beginning of the preamble, indicate:
- the legal basis of the act, that is to say, the provision which confers competence to adopt the act in question;
- proposals, recommendations, initiatives, drafts, requests, opinions which must be obtained
and, where appropriate, the procedure followed (in particular: co-decision, cooperation);
- certain opinions and other non-mandatory procedural steps, in particular opinions of the European Parliament sought where consultation is not mandatory.
Check that items cited are actually citations and that they should not be mentioned in another part of the act (see points 9.13 and 9.14).
Citations are largely standardised (in English, most commonly beginning with ‘Having regard to’).
The first citation is a general reference to the Treaty which constitutes the general basis for the action that is being taken.
If more than one Treaty is to be referred to, they should be cited in the following order: EC, Euratom.
If the direct legal basis of the act is a Treaty provision, the general citation is accompanied by the words ‘, and in particular’, followed by the relevant article
If, by contrast, the direct legal basis of the act is to be found in secondary legislation
, the particular act concerned is cited in a second citation, with the relevant article, preceded by the words ‘, and in particular’.
The legal basis should be clearly distinguished from provisions which determine the purpose, conditions and substantive aspects of the decisions to be taken. Purely procedural provisions (for example, Articles 251 and 300 of the EC Treaty) do not constitute legal bases.
International agreements concluded in accordance with the procedure set out in Article 300 of the EC Treaty and acts adopted pursuant to the relevant provisions of Title IV of the EC Treaty are special cases.
Where an act sets out in a series of articles the purpose of future decisions and indicates in another article the institution empowered to take those decisions, it is the latter article alone which is to be cited.
Similarly, where an act contains within one article a paragraph on the purpose of the measures and another giving power to act, it is only the latter paragraph
, rather than the entire article, that is cited.
Citations of preparatory acts and, in particular, opinions delivered by the European Parliament, the Court of Auditors, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions must also be followed by a footnote reference, the footnote showing the Official Journal in which the opinion was published (for example: OJ C 128, 9.6.1975, p. 11). If the opinion has not yet been published, the date on which it was delivered should be shown.
The citation concerning the co-decision procedure is worded as follows:
followed by a footnote setting out all the stages of the procedure. Where conciliation has been successful, the citation will read as follows:
A procedural citation should be used for certain acts adopted on a legal basis which refers to an adoption procedure contained in another article of the Treaty. For example, Article 110(3) (legal basis) refers to the procedure laid down in Article 107(6). The latter article should be referred to in the same manner as Article 251.
References which do not constitute citations
When drafting citations, care should be taken to ensure that they refer to either the legal basis, or the procedure. If reference to the content of provisions other than the legal basis is necessary for a proper understanding of the enacting terms or with a view to checking their lawfulness, this should be made in the recitals. More general references could be made, for background information, in the explanatory memorandum.
The general institutional provisions of the EC Treaty (for example, Articles 205 and 249), which also apply to the act in question, must not be mentioned in the citations.