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The European Union (EU) acquis is the collection of common rights and obligations that constitute the body of EU law, and is incorporated into the legal systems of EU Member States. The EU acquis evolves continuously over time and includes:

  • the content, principles and political objectives of the EU Treaties;
  • any legislation adopted to apply those treaties and the case-law developed by the Court of Justice of the European Union;
  • declarations and resolutions that are adopted by the EU;
  • measures in the fields of common foreign and security policy and justice and home affairs;
  • international agreements that the EU concludes, and agreements concluded among the Member States themselves with regard to the EU’s activities.

Candidate (applicant) countries are required to accept the acquis before they can join the EU. Derogations (exceptions) from the acquis are granted only in exceptional circumstances and are limited in scope. The acquis must be incorporated by candidate countries into their national legal order by the date of their accession to the EU, and they are obliged to apply it from that date.