Monday 26 April 2010

EU materials: European Union terminology, procedures and sources 2010

Much of the existing literature on the European Union was published before the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force on 1 December 2009.

Outdated references to institutions, powers, procedures, legal bases, terms etc. tend to obscure the discussion on European Union affairs.

In the United Kingdom, the House of Commons Library does a great public service by producing Standard Notes on various subjects.

With regard to the European Union, I would like to draw attention to a Standard Note, which was updated recently, with the following aim:

This Note aims to clarify some of the terminology used to describe the institutions, laws and procedures of the European Union. It also provides links to useful sources of information on the EU.

UK House of Commons Library Note: The European Union: a guide to terminology, procedures and sources (Standard Note SN/IA/3689; last updated 24 March 2010; 14 pages; authors Vaughne Miller and Emma Clark)


1 Introduction 3

2 European ‘Community’, ‘Communities’ and ‘Union’ 3

3 The three ‘Pillars’ 4

4 EC law or EU law? 4

5 Treaty of Rome or Treaty of Lisbon? What to call the Treaty 5

6 Referencing Treaty articles 5

7 “Member State”: use of capital letters 5

8 European Council, Council of Ministers, Council of Europe 6
8.1 The European Council 6
8.2 The Council 6
8.3 The Council of Europe 7

9 European Courts 7

10 Legal instruments 7

11 Council and Commission legislation 8

12 The Acquis Communautaire 8

13 Official Journal 8

14 Legislative procedures 8
14.1 Ordinary Legislative Procedure 8
14.2 Consent 9
14.3 Consultation 9

15 Searching for EU legislation and documentation 10
15.1 Searching in Europe 10
15.2 Searching in the Member States 10
15.3 Searching in PIMS 10

16 Current information on the EU 11
16.1 Institutions 11
16.2 On-line news sources 12
16.3 Recent and forthcoming events 12
16.4 Addresses and telephone numbers 12

17 Reading List 13
17.1 General publications 13
17.2 European Union publications 13
17.3 House of Commons Library publications 13
17.4 Official Publications 14

In addition to Members of Parliament, this Standard Note is a most welcome reference for students of EU law and politics, as well as journalists reporting on European affairs.

Ralf Grahn


  1. I blog on legal translation and I wonder if you have a newer link for this Standard Note, which I would like to see - in March 2012 I get a message that the page cannot be found.

  2. Margaret,

    I am sorry to say that I haven't seen any update and don't know if there is one.

    You are probably familiar with the IATE term bank and the EU style guide (for the institutions), but they are the best I can come up with at this moment.

    (I use some abbreviations and 'style' according to personal choices.)


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