Previous: Parliamentary sovereignty

The EU has undoubtedly called the orthodox view of Parliamentary sovereignty into question. But before that can be explored, we must ask what the EU actually is.

What is the EU?

The EU, or European Union is an organisation consisting of 28 members countries who agree to share resources, services and people. This is done through treaties, signed by each member country. The EU originated with the Treaty of Paris in 1951 where the aim was to create a common economy which would make going to war again far more difficult for individual countries. At this time, the organisation was known as the European Coal and Steel Community. By the time the UK joined the organisation in 1972, it was called the European Economic Community. The European Communities Act 1972 implemented EU law into UK law. As of 1993, the EEC became known as the EU. Do not confuse the European Union with the Council of Europe. The European Union is the economic community, the Council of Europe is responsible for human rights.

Primary EU law

Primary EU law, effective on all members states is provided by the EU Treaty and the treaty on the functioning of the EU. This law is binding on all member states.

Secondary EU law

Secondary EU law is provided by the EU in a number of ways:

  • Regulations – once passed by the EU Council and the European Parliament, or by the Commission, regulations are applicable to all member states, creating obligations which must be applied by national legislatures immediately such that they can be relied on by citizens.
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