European Union

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I. Introduction

The Goodson Law Library collects both primary and secondary materials about the European Union, which are accessible through the online catalog. Perkins Library has been a full depository library since 1964 and receives all official documents except Technical Reports. Most of these documents are accessible via the online catalog; they are available in the Public Documents department in Perkins and in the general collection, classified by subject.

II. Organization of the European Union

The European Union (EU) came into existence in November 1993 after the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty, but the EU has its origins in the aftermath of World War II. The ECSC Treaty, the EEC Treaty and the EURATOM treaty which created the constituent organizations of what we now call the European Union, were signed in the 1950's.

Original members were Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany. Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom joined in 1973. Greece became a member in 1981, and Portugal and Spain joined in 1986. Austria, Finland, and Sweden became members on January 1, 1995. Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia joined on May 1, 2004, and Bulgaria and Romania became members on January 1, 2007.

A. Treaties

(also available on EUR-Lex and the EU website)

1. Founding treaties

a. In 1951 the Treaty Establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (the ECSC Treaty or the Treaty of Paris) (261 U.N.T.S. 140) created the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) which set up the regional institutions for the governance of coal and steel. Parties to this treaty were France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

b. With the Treaty Establishing the European Economic Community (EEC Treaty or the Treaty of Rome) (298 U.N.T.S. 11) the same parties created the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957.

c. The Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (the EURATOM Treaty) (298 U.N.T.S. 167) concluded the same day as the EEC Treaty, created the European Atomic Energy Community(EURATOM).

2. Other important treaties

a. The Treaty Establishing a Single Council and a Single Commission of the European Communities (also known as the Merger Treaty of 1965) (4 ILM 776) merged ECSC, EURATOM and EEC to form the European Communities (or EC, commonly called the Common Market). On July 1, 1967, the major institutions of the EC became the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, the European Court of Justice and the European Parliament.

b. In 1987 the Single European Act (25 ILM 506) amended the three founding treaties; it established an "internal market" which became effective at the end of 1992. Its eventual goals include a single currency and an end to border regulations.

c. The Treaty on European Union (or the Maastricht Treaty) (31 ILM 247; 1992 O.J. (C191) 1), which was concluded in February of 1992 and came into effect in November 1993, established the European Union, founded on the European Communities. This treaty established a "three pillar" structure consisting of: 1) The pre-existing European Communi­ties (the EC, the ECSC and EURATOM); 2) Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP); 3) Cooperation in the fields of Home Affairs and Justice.

d. The Treaty of Amsterdam (1997 O.J. (C 340)1), which entered into force in 1999, amended and renumbered the EU and EC Treaties. Consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union (1997 OJ (C 340) 145) and the Treaty Establishing the European Community (1997 O.J. (C 340)173-308 ) are attached to it, and are also available at 37 I.L.M. 56 (1998).

e. The Treaty of Lisbon (2008 O. J. (C115)1) was signed in December 2007; the treaty entered into force on December 1, 2009. The treaty eliminates the three pillar structure created by Maastricht and the current distinction between the EC and the EU, and also guarantees the political, economic and social rights enumerated in the "Charter of Fundamental Rights" (2007 O.J.(C303)1). The text of the treaty and other documents concerning it are available on the EU website.

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B. Institutions of the European Union

The European Commission, which is located in Brussels, is the permanent executive body responsible for implement­ing the treaties. It formulates policy and initiates legislation. The Commission also has the authority to bring breaches of the treaties before the Court of Justice.

The Commission transmits proposals to the Council of the European Union, which is also in Brussels. The Council, which is made up of ministers from each member country, is the most powerful institution in the EU and the major decision making body. As such it decides on important community policies and has the power to adopt rules. The official acts of the Council include regulations, directives, decisions, recommendations and opinions. The Council also coordinates economic policies of the Member States, and with the European Parliament plays a key role in adopting the EC budget.

The European Council is a special semi-annual meeting of the Council of Ministers in which the representatives of the member states are the political heads of government themselves (i.e. presidents and prime ministers). (Do not confuse this group with the Council of Europe, which is a separate organization.)

The Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is an advisory body whose 344 members, selected from the private sector to represent industry, labor, consumers and the public at large, to ensure that these groups are represented in the institutional framework of the European Union.

The Court of Justice of the European Communities (ECJ), which sits in Luxembourg, supervises uniform interpretation and application of EU law (treaties and secondary legislation). The court adjudicates actions against Union institutions as well as issuing advisory opinions interpreting the law of the EU to national courts. The court's rulings are final and not subject to appeal.

The Court of First Instance (CFI) was established by the Council in 1988 under the Single European Act to lessen the ECJ’s caseload by hearing certain types of cases (e.g. employment disputes). Its decisions are appealable to the ECJ on points of law only.

The European Parliament is an elected body which originally had mostly advisory, rather than decision-making powers. The Maastricht Treaty has increased the powers of the Parliament and enlarged its legislative role. Members are directly elected every five years by general elections in each state. The Parliament meets in Stras­bourg, France.

The Court of Auditors, which was established in 1977, examines and monitors revenue and expenditures of the EU institutions to make sure that both revenues received and spending are lawful and based on sound financial management.

The EU website provides more information about the institutions. Eurojargon explains EU terminology to the layperson; Glossary provides more technical definitions. EU Terminology Explained explains frequently used terms and abbreviations and links to specialized glossaries in various policy fields.

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III. Locating Information About the European Union

A. Research Guides

Alford, Duncan. European Union Legal Materials: A Guide for Infrequent Users, 97 Law Libr. J. 49 (2005) gives advice on locating and understanding EU documents.

EUROPA, Databases by Subject.

Germain, Claire. Germain's Transnational Law Research: A Guide for Attorneys (Reserve KF85 .G47 1991) includes a useful bibliography arranged by areas of special interest (e.g. freedom of movement).

Raisch, Marylin. "European Union: Basic Legal Sources," in Accidental Tourist on the New Frontier: An Introductory Guide to Global Legal Research (Jeanne Rehberg & Radu D. Popa, eds.) (Ref. K85 .A27 1998).

Overy, Patrick. European Union: A Guide to Tracing Working Documents.

Reynolds, Thomas H. & Arturo A. Flores, Foreign Law Guide. The print version (updated through 2007) is called Foreign Law: Current Sources of Codes and Basic Legislation in Jurisdictions of the World (Ref. K38 .R49 1989).

For hands-on practice researching EU documents, take a look at the Duke University School of Law and University of California, Berkeley, School of Law International Legal Research Tutorial.

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B. Background Information

There are many sources available that provide extensive background information about the history, organization, structure and activities of the EU. These are some of the most useful:

Blair, Alasdair. The Longman Companion to the European Union Since 1945 (Ref. KJE947 .B53 1999) includes time lines and synopses of major events.

Butterworths Expert Guide to the European Union (Ref. KJE928 .B87 1996) gives concise explanations of EU legal terms, arranged in alphabetical order.

Chalmers, Damian et al., European Union Law: Text and Materials (KJE947 .E879 2006) surveys the development of EU law from its inception.

Collected Courses of the Academy of European Law (KJE937 .C65).

Encyclopedia of European Community Law (KJE926 .E56 1973), which is updated quarterly, publishes significant legislation with annotations in part C. This is a good place to find sources on a particular issue because it is arranged by subject and includes useful tables and an index. Parts A (UK Sources) & B (EC Treaties) are no longer updated by the publisher. Treaty information has been continued by the Encyclopedia of European Union Law (KJE926 .E52) which contains texts of treaties with annotations and notes; it also contains ancillary texts such as the European Convention on Human Rights.

Encyclopedia of the European Union (Desmond Dinan ed., updated ed.) (Ref. KJE926 .E58 2000 & online) is a useful reference tool with short entries in alphabetical order; some entries include bibliographies.

The European Union Encyclopedia and Directory, 11th ed. (Ref. KJE15 .E87 2011) provides directory and statistical information, a dictionary of EU terms, basic information about the operation of the institutions of the EU as well as in-depth essays on political, legal, and economic issues.

European Union Law Guide (Philip Raworth, ed.) (KJE949 .E97 1994) is a collection of documents organized by subject; it is updated several times a year.

The European Union Law Reporter (formerly Common Market Reporter )(KJE925.5 .E97) previously published by CCH, this looseleaf service contains treaties and secondary legislation, draft proposals, cases and annotations; it has extensive indexes and explanations.

Folsom, Ralph H. European Union Law in a Nutshell, 7th ed. (Reserve KJE949 .F55 2011) is a basic introduction to European Union law.

The General Report on the Activities of the European Union (formerly General Report on the Activities of the Community) (KJE5380 .A7 C65 & online), the annual report of the Commission to the Parliament, reviews the activities of the EU for the previous year.

Hartley, Trevor C. The Foundations of European Community Law, 6th ed. (KJE947 .H37 2007) provides an introduction to the constitutional and administrative law of the EC.

Lenaerts, Koen & Van Nuffel, Piet. Constitutional Law of the European Union, 2d ed. (Robert Bray, ed.)(KJE5076 .L46 2005) presents an in-depth, systematic discussion of EU constitutional law. It is the companion volume to Lenaerts, Arts & Maselis's Procedural Law of the European Union, 2d ed. (KJE3802 .L46 2006).

The Law of the European Union and the European Communities: With Reference to Changes to be Made by the Lisbon Treaty (P.J.G. Kapteyn ... [et al], eds., 4th rev. ed. (KJE947 .K36313 2008) provides a detailed study of EU law. (Former editions were entitled Introduction to the Law of the European Communities.)

Lasok, K.P.E. Law and Institutions of the European Union, 7th ed. (KJE947 .L37 2001).

Mathijsen, P.S.R.F. A Guide to European Union Law, 9th ed. (KJE947 .M37 2007).

Raworth, Philip. Introduction to the Legal System of the European Union (KJE947 .R39 2001) includes a discussion of the history of the EU.

Shaw, Josephine. Law of the European Union, 3d ed. (KJE947.S52 2000) is a good introduction to EC law.

Smit & Herzog on the Law of the European Union (the earlier edition was called Law of the European Economic Community: A Commentary on the EEC Treaty) (KJE964.S652) is an authoritative treatise, in looseleaf format, with an emphasis on the nature and scope of EU law.

Steiner, Josephine, et al. EU Law, 9th ed. (KJE947 .S73 2006) covers the institutions of the EU and the law they produce.

To find other general works about the European Union in the online catalog, use the Library of Congress subject headings "European Union," "European Union countries," "European Communities," "European Economic Community," "European Economic Community Countries" and "European Federation." The form of the subject heading will depend on the time period. For example, "European Union" is the subject heading for works about the organization since 1992. For works specifically on law, use "Law--European Union countries" and "Law--European Economic Community Countries." You can also use these subheadings under particular fields of law, for example "Antitrust Law--European Economic Community Countries."

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C. Journals and Current Awareness Tools

There will be articles on the EU in many law reviews. There are also several English language journals that focus on the EU. These include: The Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies,Columbia Journal of European Law, Common Market Law Review, European Journal of Law and Economics, European Law Journal, European Law Review, European Public Law, Journal of Common Market Studies, and Legal Issues of European Integration. The Yearbook of European Law contains annual surveys of legal developments along with articles and book reviews. The Jean Monnet Center contains European Integration Current Contents which provides the tables of contents of journals relevant in European Integration research (along with working papers and other materials). The European Journal of Legal Studies is freely accessible on the Internet, is multilingual and encourages original publications and submissions by young lawyers and academics, including doctoral candidates.

The "EU Press Room" database provides press releases (the EU's "RAPID" service), a calendar of events and other information on important issues in the news. Newsletters from EU Institutions lists newsletters by subject The Bulletin of the European Communities, published monthly, gives an overview of the activities of the Commission and the other Community institutions.

EU Focus (Periodicals, Level 4), a monthly newsletter accompanying the European Union Law Reporter, covers EU legal news.

LexisNexis includes a database with daily press releases from the RAPID service (Short Name EURCOM;ECNEWS) and Europolitics (EUROPE;EISENG) which provides access to articles on a variety of issues. Westlaw contains European Report (EUROREP), a semi-weekly newsletter and European Update (EURUPDATE) which contains reports and documents covering a broad range of issues. Choose the “News & Business” folder in the European Union database for links to more newsletters and journals.

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D. European Union Documents

1. Legislation
a. Official Journal

The Official Journal of the European Communities (OJ) (Perkins Periodicals) is the major resource for locating information about the EU; the final texts of legal acts adopted by the Council appear here.

Series L (Legislation) (Perkins Docs. Microfiche and CD-ROM) contains legislation, including regulations and directives.

Series C (Communication) (Perkins/Bostock Docs. Microfiche) contains commu­nications and notices, including summaries of court decisions and reports of the Court of Auditors and the Economic and Social Committee.

The L and C series of the Official Journal are also available on Lexis and Westlaw; recent issues are published on the EU website, LexisNexis and Westlaw.

Supplement-S Series, which publishes notices of invitations to bid for contracts, is available in the electronic versions of the OJ.

Every issue of the OJ is numbered separately, and you can't find documents unless you have the number. A typical reference might be 1992 O.J. (L291) 10, which means issue 291 of L series for 1992, page 10.

EC law as published in the OJ is not later compiled into a set of statutes in force, so the Directory of Community Legislation in Force, is an essential tool for updating and verifying legislation.

b. LexisNexis & Westlaw

EU legislative materials are available in English in LexisNexis and Westlaw. LexisNexis contains CELEX, the legal database of the European Union as well as materials provided by commercial publishers; the material in Westlaw comes from the Commission of the European Communities as compiled by a commercial publisher.

LexisNexis offers the selected full texts, plus abstracts and summaries, of the L & C series of the OJ, and contain legislation, case law, and other documents (EURCOM; ECLAW). Most documents (legislation, opinions, decisions, etc.) are first published in an abstract form; the full text will generally be available within a month or so (however, some documents, such as Parliamentary questions, remain as references only). Abstracts of legislative proposals are also available (EUROPE; PREP).

To find legislation in LexisNexis when you have an OJ citation, do a “Get a Document”search or search by citation (e.g. 1992 oj l 129). To find a directive or regulation if you know the number, do a segment search in EURCOM;ECLAW (e.g., title(75/442) will give you the directive and all amending directives).

The EU-ALL database in Westlaw contains legal materials from both the L and the C series of the OJ including legislation, case law, preparatory documents, parliamentary questions, and treaties. The EU-LEG database contains materials from the L Series; EU-OJCSERIES contains selected documents from the C Series. You can find proposals for new legislation in EU-ACTS.

To find legislation in Westlaw when you have an OJ citation, do a "find" search (e.g., oj 1990 L352/1). To find a directive or regulation if you know the number, do a title field search in the EU-ALL, EU-LEG or EU-OJCSERIES databases (e.g., ti(75/442)).

c. EUR-Lex

EUR-Lex is the Internet portal to EU law. Its contents include the Official Journal, links to ECJ judgments, the Directory of Community Legislation in Force and to the full-text of legislation in preparation, legislation in force and selected treaties.

d. The Legislative process

The EU legislation page links to several databases that provide information about the legislative process. These include:

Documents generated during the legislative process, including proposals for new legislation, can be found in Westlaw (EU-ACTS). Abstracts of proposals and opinions of the EC institutions that lead up to directives and decisions are available in LexisNexis (EUROPE; PREP).

COM Documents (Perkins/Bostock Docs. Microfiche) are the working documents of the Commission. These include reports of the Commission on various topics, proposed legislation (Green Papers and White Papers) and statistical reports. They are an important source of detailed current information from the Commis­sion; they are sometimes reproduced in the OJ and some can also be found in the CELEX database. You can also find cites to them in articles, treatises, and in such publications as the Bulletin of the European Communities. A citation to these documents includes year and number: for example, COM (90)65. Recent Green Papers and White Papers are also available on the EU web site. COM Documents are available in EUR-Lex from 2000 forward; they are also included in Westlaw (EU-ACTS) and LexisNexis (EUROPE;PREP).

e. Indexes

There is a two part index to the OJ entitled Index to the Official Journal of the European Communities: Alphabetical Index and Index to the Official Journal of the European Communities: Methodological Table (Perkins/Bostock Periodicals O32JL, Docs. Microfiche). The index comes out every month and is cumulated annually. With the exception of European Court of Justice cases, there are no references to other items from the C series. The Alphabetical Index is a useful way to find the documents on a specific subject for a specific year. The Methodological Table lists regulations, directives, court decisions, etc. by number.

European Current Law (KJC30 .E97) includes tables listing regulations, directives (and draft directives) and decisions in numerical order by subject as well as references to national law implementing community obligations.

The European Commission Libraries Catalogue (ECLAS) provides access to bibliographic records, including periodical articles.

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2. Case Law
a. Cases

The official publication of the ECJ is called Reports of Cases Before the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance, usually referred to as European Court Reports (ECR) (KJE924.5 .C6812). It includes judgments, interim orders, submissions (opinions) of Advocates-General, etc. The cases are published in chronological order with yearly indexes. Oral arguments are not published, and briefs are not available from the court, but only from the parties involved.

Cases are also reported in the following commercial sources:

  • Common Market Law Reports (CMLR) (KJE923.7 .C65).
  • European Commercial Cases (Library has vol. 13-) (KJE2044.6 .E97 ).
  • European Union Law Reporter (formerly Common Market Reporter) (KJE925.5.E97) which also includes treaties, legislation and annotations, published the full text of cases from 1961 to 1988. Beginning in 1989, the full text of selected cases before the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance as well as certain Commission decisions appear in CCH European Community Cases (Superseded Looseleaf, 1989-2001). There is a Finding List for cases and Commission decisions in the European Union Law Reporter which refers you to both publications.
  • International Law Reports (KZ199 .A56) contains selected ECJ cases.

Useful works about the court include the looseleaf European Courts Procedure (KJE5461 .E97 2000; updated through 2005) and Anthony Arnull, The European Union and its Court of Justice, 2d ed. (KJE5461 .A97 2006). To find more books about the court, search the online catalog with the subject heading "Court of Justice of the European Communities."

b. Online Sources

Judgments are available on the court's website within a matter of days. Cases since June 1997 may be searched by case number, date, parties or keywords. There is a separate list of cases from 1953 arranged by case number.

ECJ cases from 1954 and Court of First Instance cases from 1989 are available online in LexisNexis (EURCOM;ECJ; this file includes transcripts of cases not yet reported in ECR and provides the opinion delivered by the Advocate-General)). To find a case if you know name of the parties and/or the number, do a segment search (e.g. name (ebony maritime and c-177/95)). There is a delay of several months before cases are available in LexisNexis. A good source of news stories about recent cases in LexisNexis is the EURCOM library;ECNEWS file.

The EU-CS database in Westlaw contains ECJ cases from 1954 and Court of First Instance cases from 1989 as well as judgments from the C Series of OJ when the ECR text is not yet available. This database also includes texts of Advocate-General opinions. To find a case if you know the name of the parties and/or the number do a field search (e.g. "ebony maritime" & c-177/95)).

c. Digests

There are several digests of ECJ cases:

  • European Current Law (formerly European Law Digest) (KJC30 .E97) is a monthly index with citations and brief summaries of both national and international court decisions; the coverage is selective.
  • Digest of Case Law Relating to the European Communities (KJE925.5 .D53 ser. A (1984-1990) and ser. D (1981)) and its predecessor Compendium of Case Law Relating to the European Communities (1953-76) (KJE923 .R461) help locate decisions of the ECJ and national courts.
  • The Gazetteer of European Law (KJE9223.7 .G39 1983) is a good guide to cases from 1953 to 1983, with an index to both Common Market Law Reports and ECR. It includes indexing of Commission directives on antitrust law and many national court judgments.

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3. Treaties
a. Indexes

European Union treaties can be found using standard treaty indexes such as Wiktor's Multilateral Treaty Calendar = Répertoire des traités multilatéraux, 1648-1995 (Ref. Desk KZ118 .W55 1998).

b. Print Sources

EU treaties are published in the Official Journal, and in numerous other sources, including:

  • Collection of the Agreements Concluded by the European Communities (treaties in original languages) (Perkins/Bostock HC241.2 .C685)
  • Encyclopedia of European Union Law (KJE926 .E52)
  • European Union Law Reporter (KJE925.5 .E97)
  • International Legal Materials (Periodicals, Level 4)
  • The Rome, Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties: Comparative Texts (KJE4442.3 .T7313 1999)
  • Sources of International Uniform Law (K609 .S68 1971)
  • Sweet & Maxwell's European Community Treaties, 4th ed. (KJE4442.3.S94 1980)
  • Treaties Establishing the European Communities (Perkins/Bostock Docs. Ref. KJE4442.3 .T75 1987)
  • United Nations Treaty Series (KZ172 .T73 & online)
  • The Directory of Community Legislation in Force (KJE920.5 D59) contains agreements that don't have the status of treaties.
c. Online Sources

Treaties from 1951-present are available in LexisNexis (EUROPE;TREATY). Treaties that were printed in volumes 1 & 2 of BDIEL (INTLAW;ECTY) and in ILM (Short Name INTLAW; ILMTY) are also available. Westlaw contains treaties from 1951- (EU-TREATIES), and those reprinted in ILM (ILM). Selected treaties are available on EUR-Lex & the EU website.

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IV. European Union on the Internet

The Archive of European Integration contains historical EU documents in PDF format.

EUROPA is sponsored by the Commission and provides informationon the objectives, institutions and policies of the EU. It includes selected documents, an agenda of main events, recent Green and White Papers, and press releases. EUR-Lex contains the full text of recent issues of the L&C series of the Official Journal, links to treaties, ECJ judgments and legislation. European Judicial Network in Civil and Commercial Matters (Eurojust) contains information (in English) about civil and commercial law in the EU and in the member states.

European Court of Justice homepage includes Proceedings of the Court of Justice, judgments, press releases and other information about the court.

Policy Areas of the EU is useful for finding information by subject. Summaries of EU Legislation provides a topical arrangement of summaries of EU legislation.

The European Union in the U.S. is sponsored by the Delegation of the European Commission to the United States and provides both background and current information. The alphabetical list of links on this site (click on A to Z Index of EU Websites) provides an easy way to find specific pages on the large and complex EUROPA site. Another useful feature is the list of Essential European Union Law Websites.

The European University Institute website is a source of both current and historical information about the EU.

The Jean Monnet Center at NYU Law School contains a lot of useful material on significant EU issues including working papers and European Integration Current Contents which provides the tables of contents of journals relevant in European Integration research. It’s a good resource for keeping abreast of current developments in the EU.

The Public Documents Department at Perkins Library has an EU page with links to EU resources on the Internet.

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V. Citing European Union Documents

Rule 21.5.2 of The Bluebook explains how to cite European Court of Justice and Court of First Instance documents. Rule 21.9 is the rule for citing European Union documents such as acts and other publications of the Council and the Commission, COM Documents, documents of the Parliament and the founding treaties. T.3 shows which authorities to cite and how to abbreviate properly.

A Citation Manual for European Community Materials, 23 Fordham Int'l L. J. 935 (2000), provides detailed advice for citing EU materials.

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rev. KA/jws 12/2011 (FLG updated 12/12)