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European Legislation Identifier (ELI)

Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.
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European Legislation Identifier (ELI)

Given the disparities between Member States’ legal data at regional, national and European Union (EU) level, it is necessary to ensure that citizens have easy and efficient access to information on national and European 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.


Council conclusions inviting the introduction of the European Legislation Identifier (ELI) [Official Journal C 325 of 26.10.2012].


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

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

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

The creation of ELI will enable European 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 European and national legislation. Finally, 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, Member States have the option to continue managing legislative information as they wish.

What should Member States do in order to introduce ELI?

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

  • apply ELI to European and national legislation published in Official Journals, or in databases and legal information systems operated by Member States;
  • 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 European legislation.

Last updated: 26.12.2012