INTRODUCTION TO EUROPEAN UNION LAWUnitsUnit One. What is EU law? Step 3. The EU as a creation of law and a Union based on law

Step 3. The EU as a creation of law and a Union based on law

In order to achieve its aims and to perform its tasks, the EU relies on unity and solidarity of its Member States. This is where the EU law comes in: ensuring that Member States apply the same principles and rules, working together for the common good.

EU delivers not by means of force or subjugation of Member States, but simply by means of adopting and applying the legal rules. The unity of Member States is founded on EU’s fundamental values and is protected and translated into reality by EU law.

Even though the EU does not have a government, it possesses a clear governance structure and legislative procedures. In other words, EU law sets out the procedure for developing more EU law. It provides the EU institutions with the means of adopting legal instruments binding on the Member States and their citizens. Through these legal instruments, EU law directly affects the daily life and work of citizens, businesses and public administrations across the EU.

EU law provides an independent system of legal protection. Union law also defines the relationship between the EU and the Member States. We will discuss more about the distribution of powers between the EU and Member States later.

More importantly, Member States are answerable to the citizens of the EU for any harm caused through violations of EU law. In most drastic cases, a procedure exists in Article 7 TEU that can lead to the suspension of certain membership rights of the Member State involved. On the other hand, the obligations on the Member State in question continue to be binding.