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European Law


European law combines all regulations concerning the European Union. It comprises the contracts concluded between all member States, most recently the Treaty of Maastricht from 1992, the Treaty of Amsterdam from 1997, and the Treaty of Nice from 2001 (so-called primary law). At the same time, the individual bodies of the European Community, which were set up with the European Union, are also able to create their own legal acts; these are primarily the directives and decrees (so-called secondary law). Initially crucial is the EU Treaty, which describes the common goals of the European Union, and creates the instruments necessary for this. One goal is the European Community, which was founded as the European Economic Community, together with the European Atomic Energy Community succeeding the European Coal and Steel Community (founded on 1 April 1951, legally effective on 23 July 1952, lasting for 50 years until 23 July 2002) (both contracts were signed as so-called Treaties of Rome on 25 March 1957 and took effect on 1 January 1958). The Treaty of Maastricht then renamed it the European Community.

The aim of the European Community Treaty according to Art. 2 of the EC Treaty is

“to promote harmonious, balanced and sustainable development of business, a high level of employment and a high degree of social protection, equality of men and women, constant, noninflationary growth, a high degree of competitiveness and convergence of economic performances, a high degree of environmental protection and improvement of environmental quality, an elevated standard of living and quality of life, and economic and social cohesion and solidarity between the member States throughout the entire community.”

These goals are to be achieved by establishing a Common Market and the Economic- and Monetary Union, as well as various policies and measures (which are mentioned in Art. 3 and 4 of the EC Treaty). These goals are, however, implemented in detail using different legal instruments, including a variety of directives and decrees. It is not possible to provide a copy of all European rules and regulations here, but the individual contracts are linked here, and also enable access to the secondary Community Law.