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Summaries of EU Legislation

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European Legislation Identifier (ELI)

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European Legislation Identifier (ELI)

Given the disparities between EU countries' legal data at regional, national and EU level, it is necessary to ensure that citizens have easy and efficient access to information on national and EU legislation. The European Legislation Identifier (ELI) enables simple and fast access to this information, with a view to establishing the common area of freedom, security and justice.


The Council conclusions provide for the introduction of a European Legislation Identifier (ELI), aimed at providing simple access to information relating to EU and EU countries' national legislation.

What is the role of the European Legislation Identifier (ELI)?

The exchange of data relating to legislation has grown considerably at EU level. In the main, these data come from regional, national and EU bodies. However, the exchange of data is hindered by disparities between legal systems at country and EU level.

The creation of ELI will enable EU and national legislation to be referenced in a harmonised and stable way. This will result in a faster and more efficient search and data exchange system which is accessible to citizens or specific users such as legislators, judges and legal professionals.

How does ELI work?

ELI is based firstly on the use of unique identifiers, called URIs (Uniform Resource Identifier), and secondly on a set of structured metadata for the referencing of EU and national legislation. Lastly, in order to benefit fully from the advantages of the semantic web, ELI is based on the implementation of a specific language for exchanging this information.

However, EU countries have the option to continue managing legislative information as they wish.

What should EU countries do in order to introduce ELI?

The introduction of ELI is optional. EU countries and the EU can decide to introduce this identifier on a voluntary and gradual basis. ELI has already been introduced in some EU countries and at EU level. To introduce ELI, EU countries are required to:

  • apply ELI to EU and national legislation published in Official Journals, or in databases and legal information systems operated by EU countries;
  • provide pieces of legislation with a unique identifier and some of the metadata, which could include the type of legislation, subject, territorial application and document date;
  • appoint an ELI coordinator;
  • share and disseminate information on ELI;
  • discuss annually the progress made with the introduction of ELI and metadata for national and EU legislation.


European Legislation Identifier


Council conclusions inviting the introduction of the European Legislation Identifier (ELI) (OJ C 325, 26.10.2012, pp. 3–11)

last update 14.12.2015