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Term: Regulation

What is a Regulation?

A regulation is a binding legislative act. It must be applied in its entirety across the EU. For example, the EU general data protection regulation (GDPR) governs how the personal data of individuals in the EU may be processed and transferred. 

Key Characteristics:

  • Immediately applicable and enforceable by law in all Member States
  • As good practice, Member States issue national legislation that defines the competent national authorities, inspection and sanctions on the subject matter
  • Ensures uniform application of EU law in all Member States
  • Supersedes national laws dealing with the same subject matter
  • Creates rights and obligations for individuals that national courts must recognize

Implementation Process:

  1. The EU adopts a Regulation
  2. It automatically becomes part of the national legal system of each Member State
  3. Member States may need to modify or repeal national laws to avoid conflicts with the Regulation
  4. Member States often enact complementary legislation to ensure smooth implementation

Regulation vs. Directive: Key Differences

AspectEU DirectiveEU Regulation
ApplicationRequires national implementationDirectly applicable
FlexibilityAllows for adaptation to national contextsUniform across all Member States
TimelineImplementation deadline set in the DirectiveImmediately applicable upon entry into force
National legislationRequires new or amended national lawsMay require complementary national legislation
EnforcementEnforced through national lawsDirectly enforced as EU law
UniformityMay result in variations between Member StatesEnsures uniform application across the EU
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