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The legal order of the European Union

As Member States confer competences to the EU, EU law, which is comprised of the community acquis (see introduction), must be supreme over that of Member States for the EU to function correctly. In Van Gend En Loos (1963), the Court of Justice first confirmed that the EU creates a new legal order over that of Member States, allowing the effective prevention of a Member States’ imposition of a customs duty. It was confirmed in Costa v ENEL [1964] that this legal order is supreme. Further, according to Kadi I [2008], international agreements are also subordinate to EU law.

The law making process

There are two ways in which new EU law can be made, determined by which conferred competence the legislative act will address. The first is through the Ordinary Legislative Procedure (OLP), which used to be called the co-decision procedure, and the second is through the Special Legislative Procedure (SLP).

In the OLP, a Commission proposal goes through three readings. In the first reading, either the Council or the European Parliament may accept or reject the proposal. If the proposal is accepted, it will be enacted. If it is rejected, the Commission will amend its proposal before a second reading. This time, the Parliament may opt only to veto the proposal; if it ignores it, will be be for the Council only to change or enact the proposal...

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