> Library > Essentials of EU law

Essentials of EU law

The legal order created by the European Union has become an established component of our political life and society. Each year, on the basis of the Union treaties, thousands of decisions are taken that crucially affect the EU Member States and the lives of their citizens. Individuals have long since ceased to be merely citizens of their country, town or district; they are also Union citizens. For this reason alone, it is of crucial importance that they should be informed about the legal order that affects their daily lives. Yet the complexities of the Union’s structure and its legal order are not easy to grasp. This is partly due to the wording of the treaties themselves, which is often somewhat obscure, with implications which are not easy to appreciate. An additional factor is the unfamiliarity of many concepts with which the treaties seek to master new situations. The following pages are thus an attempt to provide interested citizens with an initial insight into the structure of the Union and the supporting pillars of the EU’s legal order.


  • CJEU – Court of Justice of the European Union
  • EAEC / Euratom – European Atomic Energy Community
  • EC – European Community
  • ECB- European Central Bank
  • ECHR – European Convention on Human Rights
  • ECR – Reports of cases before the Court of Justice and the General Court
  • ECSC – European Coal and Steel Community
  • EEC – European Economic Community
  • ESM – European Stability Mechanism
  • EU – European Union
  • MEP – Member of Parliament
  • NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
  • OECD – Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
  • OEEC – Organisation for European Economic Cooperation
  • OSCE – Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe
  • TEU – Treaty on European Union
  • TFEU – Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
  • WEU -Western European Union