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Primary law

Put simply, primary law of the EU derives from the treaties. In module two we noted that the EU was run by its treaties. Exactly the same idea applies here. Without the treaties there is no EU and contained in the treaties are the ‘substantive rules’ that determine how the EU is run.

To summarise, primary law is composed of –

a)    The founding treaties (the treaties that created the European Communities and the EU in the first place) such as the Treaty of Rome or the Treaty on European Union (Maastricht).

b)    The major amending treaties (those treaties that change or add to founding treaties – the Treaty of Amsterdam and the Treaty of Lisbon for example)

c)    Protocols (parts of EU law added to the end of treaties)

d)    Treaties on Accession that set out what states must do to meet accession requirements.

Copies of the major sources of primary law can be found at the following website.

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