EU cooperation began in the 1950s as an economic union between six European countries, and today the European Union (EU) is a large regional organization made up of 27 European countries. EU legal structure has been based on an amalgam of treaties and agreements entered into between 1953 and 2007.
In 2007, the Treaty of Lisbon consolidated and amended these agreements and now serves as governing document for the EU. EU policy and governance, however, is explained as resting on three "pillars," listed below, each of which stems from formerly applicable treaties on the subject. The three pillars are:
Economic - from the three communities of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the Economic Community (EC) and Euratom (the European Atomic Energy Community)
Foreign Policy and Security - Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
Justice and Home Affairs - Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC)
Links to EU documents, from legal texts to historical records, the latest EU-wide surveys and opinion polls and the libraries and documentation centres that host them. Find explanations of EU terminology, glossaries and advice on writing about the EU. You can also order publications from the EU bookshop.
The European Commission represents the general interest of the EU and is the driving force in proposing legislation (to Parliament and the Council), administering and implementing EU policies, enforcing EU law (jointly with the Court of Justice) and negotiating in the international arena.
The EIoP publishes scientific analyses of political, legal, economic, historical and sociological questions in relation to European integration considering the whole range of methodological and philosophy of science standpoints.
Access to the basic legal texts on which the European Union and the European Communities are founded: the founding Treaties (original versions and later updatings), the amending Treaties, the Accession Treaties for each of the six enlargements, plus other essential documents.
Pages include the Jean Monnet Working Papers with the European Research Papers Archive (ERPA - a common access point for high quality papers in the area of European integration research), teaching materials in European Law and Institutions, the Law of Regional Economic Integration in the American Hemisphere and the Law of World Trade, the World Wide European Integration Events Calendar and the European Integration Current Contents (Table of Contents Awareness Service) pages. The European Journal of International Law and the European Foreign Policy Bulletin online are also part of the Academy of European Law online.
The website is a specialised information source together with EUR-Lex, PreLex and Europe Direct. Whereas EUR-Lex provides the full texts of all EU law documents, PreLex follows all legislative proposals during the decision-making process of the EU institutions and Europe Direct responds to citizens’ enquiries regarding the EU. This website complements the above by offering user-friendly summaries of sometimes rather long and technical EU legislation.