What are the types of regulation in the EU? EU Treaties identify a variety of different legal instruments to enact EU policies. These can be binding on the entire European Union, on countries, on industry sectors or companies. Five different types of legal instruments exist:
This is a binding legislative act that must be applied fully across the EU. It can be enacted by the main EU institutions (e.g. the Commission, Council, Parliament or a Parliamentary Committee), as well as the main regulatory bodies responsible for specific sector activities (e.g. air safety, nuclear power).
This sets out a goal that all EU countries must achieve. Individual countries can decide how to implement it.
This usually comes after an investigation. It is legally binding on the relevant party – which can be an EU country or an individual company. It may include conditions that are enforceable.
This is a non-binding view that sets out the views of the main EU institutions on an issue and may suggest action.
This can be issued by the main EU institutions as the EU formulates new legislation. Opinions are non-binding, but often provide a good indication of the future direction to be taken by legislation.
After Brexit, the UK will also be able to enact its own laws, which may or may not differ from those applying in the EU.
Make yourself familiar with the current position as it relates to your business, this will help you monitor any changes that are made and their implications for you.