Step 4. Secondary EU law

Law adopted by the EU institutions is referred to as secondary legislation, the second important source of EU law. Each year, the EU institutions adopt hundreds of secondary EU legislation acts. Secondary EU law is the source of law most widely used by national authorities, EU citizens, and businesses in their daily work.

Secondary EU law is adopted in the areas of exclusive and shared EU competences. Usually EU law is grouped in policy areas based on the transfer of competences and typical national policies, such as agriculture, environment, energy, consumer protection, transportation, and others. Whenever the EU institutions seek to adopt secondary legislation, the institution which makes the proposal (most often the European Commission) must find a relevant legal base within the EU Treaties. Without a proper legal base, the EU institutions are prevented from acting.