Legal background documents referring to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) are divided in current legislation and previous legislation. Both are organised by type of legislation. Please select "current" or "past" from the items on your left-hand side to view them. The difference between types of legislation is explained below.

 

Secondary Legislation

is the third major source of Community law after the treaties (Primary Legislation) and international agreements. It can be defined as the totality of the legislative instruments adopted by the European institutions pursuant to the provisions of the treaties. Secondary legislation comprises the binding legal instruments (regulations, directives and decisions) and non-binding instruments (resolutions, opinions) provided for in the EC Treaty, together with a whole series of other instruments such as the institutions' internal regulations and Community action programmes.
Here below you will find a short definition of the some of the terms mentioned above, for more details on legislation please visit the Europa web site.

 

Decision
Adopted either by the Council, by the Council in conjunction with the European Parliament or by the Commission, a decision is the instrument by which the Community institutions give a ruling on a particular matter. By means of a decision, the institutions can require a Member State or a citizen of the Union to take or refrain from taking a particular action, or confer rights or impose obligations on a Member State or a citizen.

 

Directive
Adopted by the Council in conjunction with the European Parliament or by the Commission alone, a directive is addressed to the Member States. Its main purpose is to align national legislation. A directive is binding on the Member States as to the result to be achieved but leaves them the choice of the form and method they adopt to realise the Community objectives within the framework of their internal legal order. If a directive has not been transposed into national legislation in a Member State, if it has been transposed incompletely or if there is a delay in transposing it, citizens can directly invoke the directive in question before the national courts.

 

Regulation
Adopted by the Council in conjunction with the European Parliament or by the Commission alone, a regulation is a general measure that is binding in all its parts. Unlike directives, which are addressed to the Member States, and decisions, which are for specified recipients, regulations are addressed to everyone. A regulation is directly applicable, which means that it creates law which takes immediate effect in all the Member States in the same way as a national instrument, without any further action on the part of the national authorities.