Community legislation

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Laws made by the European Parliament acting jointly with the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. Each body has legislative powers but most legislation is now made by the Parliament and Council, based on proposals by the Commission. The role of the Parliament in the legislative process was strengthened under the Single European Act 1986 and the Maastricht Treaty 1992. Community legislation is in the form of regulations, directives, and decisions. Regulations are of general application, binding in their entirety, and directly applicable in all member states without the need for individual member states to enact these domestically (see Community law). Directives are addressed to one or more member states and require them to achieve (by amending national law if necessary) specified results. They are not directly applicable – they do not create enforceable Community rights in member states until the state has legislated in accordance with the directive: the domestic statute then creates the rights for the citizens of that country. A directive cannot therefore impose legal obligations on individuals or private bodies, but by its direct effect it confers rights on individuals against the state and state bodies, even before it has been implemented by changes to national law, by decisions of the European court. Decisions may be addressed either to states or to persons and are binding on them in their entirety. Both the Council and the Commission may also make recommendations, give opinions, and issue notices, but these are not legally binding.

Subjects: Law.

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