Saturday, 6 June 2009

How much law is EU law?

A while ago Nosemonkey sparked off a lengthy discussion by asking: What percentage of laws come from the EU? (2 June 2009)


Over at the French think tank Notre Europe, Yves Bertoncini has published an assessment of the proportion of EU legislation: La législation nationale d’origine communautaire : briser le mythe des 80% (Les Brefs de Notre Europe No 13, mai 2009).

Bertoncini notes that the 80 per cent figure has caught on rapidly among both anti-Europeans and Euro-enthusiasts. It is difficult to reach a reliable figure, when assessing two different legal systems, but many have not been especially diligent in explaining that.

On 1 July 2008 the acquis communautaire comprised 28,031 legal acts (secondary acts, based on the treaties). Of these, 9,685 were Directives or Regulations.

Each year, the European Community produced between 2,181 (from 1978 to 2007) and 2,744 (from 1998 to 2007) Directives and Regulations.

In 2008 there were 2,249 Regulations and 247 Directives published in the Official Journal of the European Union (total 2,496).

The proportion of Community norms to French norms was a little less than 15 per cent.

The most heavily regulated areas were agriculture with about 42.6 per cent of all Regulations and Directives, the internal market including free movement with about 20 per cent and external relations (technical, economic and financial) with about 10 per cent.

The proportion of Community norms among legal norms applicable in France vary hugely between different sectors:

• Almost half in the agricultural sector
• About 20 per cent in the field of the economy and “foreign affairs”
• A little less than 5 per cent in “ecology”
• Less than 2 per cent in ten other sectors studied

Even given the methodological difficulties, Bertoncini concludes that the proportion of Community norms is closer to 20 than to 80 per cent.

Ralf Grahn