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Advanced Introduction to European Union Law

European Union Law

Jacques Ziller

This book explains how member states of the EU confer powers to the Union through the founding treaties and the legal frame applicable to the Union’s institutions, and the rules that apply to their functioning and the legal review of their action. It reviews the main fields of action of the EU – the internal market, area of freedom, security and justice, external action – and how law is shaping them. The interaction between the EU and its member states is also explained.
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Institutional framework of the EU

Jacques Ziller


in the broad sense. The difference between “institutions” and the others cannot be summed up in a straightforward way: apart from the symbolic value of the name, which is common, there are differences between institutions with regard to their level of autonomy and to the conditions of standing in actions before the Court.

Institutional provisions of primary and secondary law apply to new member states from the date of entry into force of their accession treaty. This is different from substantive law, for which there are usually transitional periods which vary according to policy fields and member states. Whether those provisions cease to apply for a withdrawing member state on the date of exit, or may be delayed, depends upon the content of the agreement on the conditions of withdrawal. In the absence of such provisions, they cease to apply at the date of exiting.

The general governance system of the Union relies on five major institutions. The European Council and Council, albeit formally different, are composed of representatives of member state executives in a manner that is typical for institutions of international organisations. The Commission is an outstandingly original institution, in comparison with both international organisations and state institutions. The CJEU is far more similar to municipal courts than to the ICJ or similar institutions.

The EP is the institution par excellence which embodies the principle of representative democracy to which Article 10 TEU is referring.

The functions of the EP...

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