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The EU's 'acquis' is the body of common rights and obligations that are binding on all EU countries, as EU Members. It is constantly evolving and comprises:

  • the content, principles and political objectives of the Treaties;
  • legislation adopted in application of the treaties and the case law of the Court of Justice of the EU;
  • declarations and resolutions adopted by the EU;
  • measures relating to the common foreign and security policy;
  • measures relating to justice and home affairs;
  • international agreements concluded by the EU and those concluded by the EU countries between themselves in the field of the EU's activities.

Applicant countries are required to accept the acquis before they can join the EU. Derogations from the acquis are granted only in exceptional circumstances and are limited in scope. The acquis must be incorporated by applicant 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.