Thursday 15 May 2008

EU resources: How to find them (Example: transport policies)

Do you need resources on EU policies or law? Are you in a hurry, but don’t know where to start?

Many find the European Union’s web pages hard to navigate. Therefore, I have tried to gather a few basic resources, without striving to include everything.

Here is a selective (or eclectic) list of gateways to EU economics, law and policies. We use transport policy as an example, but you can ‘mutatis mutandis’ use most of the materials in other policy fields.


What is the importance and impact of transport within the European Union?

EU energy and transport in figures, Statistical pocketbook 2007/2008, offers 216 pages of information about two crucial economic sectors:

In another policy area, you might not be as lucky, but almost every area of human activity leaves a statistical footprint. For the European Union, your default option is to see what Eurostat has to offer:,30070682,1090_33076576&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL


What has happened since your course-book was finalised?

The Commission’s Activities of the European Union Transport web page, offers all-round links to EU transport matters:

In the same way you can access every DG of the European Commission through the Europa portal:

Look for ‘What the European Union does by subject’ on:


The Commission’s Scadplus web pages, with summaries of legislation, present thematic starting points for different policy areas. Transport is found on:

Correspondingly, you find the other areas of European Community (European Union) legislation through:


What is going on in the European Union?

As always, the European Commission’s General Report on the Activities of the European Union 2007 offers a summary of the main developments in the various policy areas, except for the latest months after the beginning of 2008, with Transport on pages 76 to 83. The current report can be accessed through:

In this and in other cases, for those who understand a Nordic language, the government of Sweden offers an annual report of comparable scope and quality. The latest activity report is ‘Regeringens skirivelse 2007/2008:85 Berättelse om verksamheten I Europeiska union under 2007’, with transport treated on pages 163 to 180 (in ’Del 7 Transporter, elektroniska kommunikationer och energi’):

Both the Commission’s Activity Report and the Swedish Annual Report work as well for other policy fields.


You missed the last days?

The latest press releases from the EU institutions are found on ‘What’s new on Europa’:


Foreign and security policy? European Council or Council?

If your interest concerns the common foreign and security policy (CFSP), including the common security and defence policy (CSDP), or the European Council or the different Council configurations, the Council web pages are for you:


Naturally, there are lots of more EU web sites depending on your interests. Law librarians have compiled useful EU research guides, but for a ‘quick and dirty’ search a few minutes on the ‘Essential European Union Law Websites’ may be all you need. The Delegation of the European Commission to the USA has compiled the mini site map of European Union legal web pages:



I have followed the English web pages, but the European Union has 23 treaty languages and official languages. This means that you can find the treaties, secondary legislation and proposals in these languages.

A huge amount of information material is produced in every official EU language, and there are often language options on the web page, once you have found what you are looking for.

Press releases and other non-binding materials are translated according to need and capacity, with the Commission’s working languages (English, French and German) well represented. The Council works almost equally in English and French (my feeling), and the primary internal language of the European Court of Justice is French. The European Parliament heroically translates most information material into every official language.

Still, knowing languages increases your options. The press release or document you are looking for may be released earlier in one language, but it may take a while before the other language versions appear.


Dear reader, I would be happy to read about your experiences navigating the European Union.

Ralf Grahn


  1. It is indeed rather cumbersome to find resources especially on the page. A few months back I created a "netvibes universe" that aims at bringing together all available RSS feeds of the page. You can find it here:

  2. Kosmopolit,

    While I primarily had in mind the student, reasearcher or business person trying to find primary sources (official material), I gladly endorse your Kosmopolit Universe as a vlauable tool for a host of EU materials, such as news, blogs (including your own)and commentary.

    Dear readers, make acquaintance with Kosmopolit.

  3. Good overview.

    One very valuable tool (and quite hidden) are the document registers of the institutions, most notably the one of the EP which often provides access to even non-EP documents:

    With help of this database one can often access more recent policy documents on a certain issue.

  4. Brussels Blogger,

    Thank you for your valuable hints. Wanting to keep things fairly straightforward I desisted from the follow-up of proposals through PreLex and (even more) sophisticated tools like the registers of the EU institutions, but for the reader with an interest to follow a certain issue methodically and in more or less real time, your addition points at a valuable resource.


Due deluge of spam comments no more comments are accepted.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.