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Summaries of EU Legislation

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European Union regulations

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European Union regulations

Regulations are legal acts defined by Article 288 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). They have general application, are binding in their entirety and directly applicable in all European Union countries.

SUMMARY

Regulations are legal acts defined by Article 288 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). They have general application, are binding in their entirety and directly applicable in all European Union countries.

For example, when the EU decided to take action to better protect human health and the environment against the risks associated with chemical substances, it adopted a regulation on this issue.

The regulation forms part of the EU’s secondary law. It is adopted by the European institutions on the basis of the founding treaties. It aims to ensure the uniform application of EU law in all EU countries.

The regulation is adopted following a legislative procedure. It is a legislative act adopted by the Council and Parliament under the ordinary or special legislative procedures.

The regulation is addressed to abstract categories of persons, not to identified persons. This is what distinguishes it from the decision, defined in Article 288 of the TFEU. It is binding in its entirety.

A regulation must be complied with fully by those to whom it applies. It is a legal act binding upon:

the EU institutions,

EU countries,

the individuals to whom it is addressed.

The regulation is directly applicable in all EU countries. This means that it:

applies immediately as the norm in all EU countries, without needing to be transposed into national law,

creates rights and obligations for individuals and they can therefore invoke it directly before national courts,

can be used as a reference by individuals in their relationship with other individuals, EU countries or EU authorities.

It is applicable in all EU countries from the date of its entry into force (a date that it sets or, failing that, 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal). Its legal effects are simultaneously, automatically and uniformly binding in all the national legislations.

Delegated regulations

In the delegated acts procedure (Article 290 of the TFEU), the Commission may adopt delegated regulations to specify or complement certain details or aspects of a regulation or an EU directive.

Implementing regulations

In the implementing acts procedure (Article 291 of the TFEU), the Commission may be authorised to adopt regulations for the execution of legislation requiring uniform implementation within the EU. The implementing powers of the Commission must be exercised in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council.

The European institutions may also adopt implementing regulations for the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund. This type of regulation is defined in Articles 164 and 178 of the TFEU.

These are legal acts whose validity depends on a ‘basic regulation’. While the basic regulation lays down the basic rules, the implementing regulation lays down certain technical provisions.

For more information, see ‘EU law’on the European Union's website.

Last updated: 30.08.2015

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