The types of European legislative acts
There are 5 types of legislative acts in the European Union.
Regulations necessarily and directly apply in every aspect to the 28 Members States of the European Union.
Example : Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency.
Directives apply to all Member States but they have the choice of how to achieve the expected result. It involves the transposition of the law from European into national legislation.
The Single Market was mainly built by means of directives.
Example : Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market (the so-called “Bolkestein directive”).
Decisions are obligatory in all respects and apply to specific targets.
Example: Commission Decision of 19 December 2008 setting up the Committee of Experts on Posting of Workers (2009/17/EC).
Opinions are acts which are not obligatory but which express the opinion of a community institution or organisation.
Example: Opinion of the Committee of the Regions Opinion on “Multilingualism” (2008/C 257/06)
Recommendations are not obligatory acts issued by the Council or the European Commission to encourage Member States to act in a certain manner.
Example: Commission Recommendation of 11 February 2009 on the implementation of a nuclear material accountancy and control system by operators of nuclear installations (2009/120/Euratom).