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European Union: Secondary law

A guide to researching the law of the EU

About secondary law

EU secondary legislation is made by the EU institutions and include unilateral secondary law and conventions and agreements.

Unilateral acts can be divided into two categories:

  1. those listed in Article 288 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU:
    • regulationsinfo
    • directivesinfo
    • decisionsinfo
    • opinionsinfo
    • recommendationsinfo
  2. those not listed in Article 288 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, i.e. "atypical" acts such as communications and recommendations, and whiteinfo and green papersinfo .

Convention and Agreements group together:

  • international agreements, signed by the EU and a country or outside organisation;
  • agreements between Member States; and
  • interinstitutional agreements, i.e. agreements between the EU institutions

Official Journal of the European Union

Secondary legislation is published in the Official Journal of the European Union. You will find the Official Journal in the European Documentation Centre from 1992 - 1997.

EUR-Lex contains electronic copies of all Official Journals since the first edition. Effective 1 July 2013, the electronic edition of the OJ (e-OJ) is authentic and produces legal effects.


EU legislation is freely available on EUR-Lex. Search or navigate through the EU legal collections


When you have found legislation a lot of extra information is available, e.g. National Implementing Measures (National transposition) communicated by the Member States concerning.