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European Union Law

EU Publications & Documents

Case Law  Decisions of the European Court of Justice, the General Court, and the Civil Service Tribunal are freely available online from Curia, the official website of the Court of Justice of the European Union.  It is also possible to retrieve court decisions from EUR-Lex, the EU's online legal database, if you know the case number and the date of the decision.

Legislation  Regulations, directives, decisions, and other legal acts are published in the "L" series of the EU's Official Journal, which can be accessed freely online.  EUR-Lex maintains a compilation of EU legislation currently in force.

Current Publications  The EU Publications Office compiles an annual catalog of key publications.  English language versions of almost all current EU publications can be downloaded in PDF format without charge from the EU Bookshop.   In addition, the EU's Europa website provides a convenient links page for accessing official publications and documents.

Past and Present Publications  The Central Library of the European Commission maintains a comprehensive collection of past and present EU publications, as well as an extensive collection of publications from other international governmental organizations, such as the UN, the OECD, and the World Bank.  All of the Library's holdings from 1978 to the present are included in its ECLAS online catalog.

Internal Documents of EU Institutions  The EU's major institutions provide online access to many of their of their internal working documents.  Europa, the EU's official website, maintains a listing of publicly accessible working documents by institution.  Listed below are some working documents that may be of particular interest:      

  • European Commission The Commission makes both its green papers (preliminary reports used to develop and refine policy proposals) and its white papers (final policy proposals, often establishing a framework for future legislation) available for download in PDF format.  It is also possible to access many of the Commission's internal working documents by searching Dorie, its in-house database.
  • European Parliament  The Parliament provides online access to agendas, motions, debates, reports, and other documents from its current legislative session.  Note that not all materials are available in English.

Archival Materials and Working Papers

  • The Archive of European Integration (AEI), maintained by the University of Pittsburgh Library System, includes more than 17,000 official and unofficial documents pertaining to the EU, its predecessor organizations, and other aspects of European integration in the 20th and 21st centuries. Users can search he AEI's collection online, with many filters available for optimizing search results, or browse the collection by subject, document type, and year.
  • The European Research Papers Archive (ERPA) is a web portal that provides access to the online working papers and e-journals of 18 academic institutions that are devoted to the study of the EU and European integration.

EU Statistics

Eurostat is the EU's statistical processing arm.  It consolidates data collected by the Member States and ensures that they are comparable, using a harmonized methodology.  It then aggregates and publishes the data, enabling users to make comparisons across national boundaries with respect to a wide variety economic, demographic, developmental, and social factors.  Users can search Eurostat for data by collection, theme, and date range.

The Eurostat website includes a helpful explanatory guide to EU statistics, a thematic glossary of statistical terms, and a calendar showing upcoming release dates for specific types of data.  It also provides convenient links to the national statistical offices of the Member States. 

Country Profiles is an interactive feature that allows users to select thematic data sets and view them in a variety of formats (table, graph or map).  The data sets can be downloaded or printed. 

Notable Eurostat Publications  

  • Eurostat Yearbook  Similar in scope to the Statistical Abstract of the United States, the Yearbook provides a comprehensive annual selection of statistical data on the EU and its Member States, featuring more than 450 tables, graphs and maps on a wide variety of themes.  Prior editions are freely available online for download in PDF. 
  • Eurostat Regional Yearbook  A complementary publication to the Yearbook, with data provided at the regional rather than the national level.  Prior editions are also freely available online for download in PDF format.
  • Basic Figures on the EU  This series, published quarterly online and in print, presents the most current data on a small number of key indicators in the economic and social fields.

CELEX Classification System

CELEX is a classification system for EU documents similar to the SuDocs system used by the federal government in the U.S.   Searching by CELEX number is the fastest way to retrieve a document in Eur-Lex.  Eur-Lex provides list of FAQs about CELEX numbers and a PDF guide describing their key components.

EU Languages & Translation Issues

The European Union has 23 official languages.  The EU's Official Journal is published in all 23 languages, as are other documents of general application.  Most EU institutions conduct their internal operations in a smaller number of procedural languages, usually English, French, and German. 

Questions of translation arise frequently in both the drafting and interpretation of EU law.  The Law Library has a number of resources that address this issue.  Search the UIUC catalog for additional resources.