European Community law, also known as European Union law, is a set of rules that regulate and define the functioning of the institutions of the European Union, their powers, as well as the principles that regulate their actions and has its own legal personality.
This legal framework is what shapes the functioning of the European Union, as well as the institutions and their powers. Its uniqueness is represented by the fact that it is a differentiated system of international law and it is a supranational organization with legislative power that must be respected by all the EU countries.
The relationship between this legal framework and the legal system of any EU country is based on different principles:
Principle of autonomy of community law
It is an independent order both from international law and the national legal systems of the Member States. It implies that European law is not subject to the principles, methods of legislative production or limits set by national constitutions and that its validity and effectiveness do not depend on a national decision or provision.
Principle of primacy
Community law prevails over national law of Member States. This primacy is based on the transfer of the exercise of sovereignty that each country does in favor of the European institutions upon entering the EU. The primacy of community law does not imply the abrogation of country ones, but the cessation of their application in the event of incompatibility with community legislation.
Principle of direct effect
European laws are directly applicable to citizens since they are issued, they do not require any act of mediation or integration into national law.
State responsibility principle
For any damage caused to a citizen when the provisions of Community law have been violated. This principle is supported by that one of autonomy and by that one of the direct effect of European laws.
Community law, therefore, confers rights and imposes direct obligations on both the Community institutions, the Member States and their citizens.
Currently European Union institutions are:
– European Parliament;
– Council of the European Union;
– European Council;
– European Commission;
– Court of Justice of the European Union;
– European Court of Auditors;
– European Economic and Social Commitee; European Regions Commitee.