Legal vocabulary

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A

Acquis communautaire: 
The entire body of European laws. Includes all the treaties, regulations and directives passed by the European institutions as well as judgements issued by the Court of Justice.

B

C

CAP:
(EU’s) Common Agricultural Policy

CELEX:
Communitatis Europae Lex (EC data bank for Community law)

Cohesion Fund:
(EU) Structural instrument which helps Member States reduce economic and social disparities and to stabilise their economies

Comitology:
Name for the work and study of the many committees and working groups (in the EU)

COREPER:
Comité des Représentants Permanents/Permanent representatives Committee of the EC Council. The ambassadors of permanent representations to the EU (as COREPER II) and their substitutes/representatives (as COREPER I) meet in COREPER to prepare all Council decisions.

 

D

DG:
Directorate-General. The EU Commission is composed of 26 Directorates-General. Each is headed by a Director-General under the responsibility of a Commissioner and deals with a specific policy area.

 


EC:
European Community

ECJ:
Court of Justice of the European Communities

ECSC: 
European Coal and Steel Community

EEA:
European Economic Area

EEA Council:
Responsible for giving political impetus and guidance for the implementation and development of the EEA Agreement (somewhat like the European Council). It meets twice a year and is attended by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the EEA EFTA States and of the current and forthcoming EU presidencies, as well as by the Commissioner for External Relations and the High Representative for the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy.

EEC:
European Economic Community

EFTA:
European Free Trade Association

EFTA EEA Comments:
As part of the EEA EFTA States’ possibility to participate in shaping EC legislation, i.e. when the Commission draws up legislative proposals the EFTA side may then submit a number of comments on them.

EIB:
European Investment Bank

EMU: 
Economic and Monetary Union

 

EP: 
European Parliament

ESA:
EFTA Surveillance Authority

EU:
European Union

EURATOM:
European Atomic Energy Community

EUROSTAT:
Statistical Office of the European Communities

 

F

Flanking areas:
Co-operation outside the four freedoms (e.g. research and technological development, information services, the environment, education, training and youth, social policy, consumer protection, tourism, culture, energy, employment, enterprise and entrepreneurship, civil protection, public health and statistics).

Four freedoms:
The free movement of goods, services, capital and persons

FTAs:

Free trade agreements (e.g. between EFTA and its partner countries)

 


Green Paper:

Document intended to stimulate debate and launch a process of consultation on a particular topic. The conclusions of the debate may lead to the publication of a White Paper setting out practical policy proposals.

 


Horizontal provisions:
Social policy, consumer protection, the environment, statistics and company law

 

I
IGC:
Inter-governmental Conference

Internal Market:
The EEA and the EU common rules aim to enable goods, services, capital and persons to move freely about the EEA in an open and competitive environment, a concept referred to as the four freedoms.

Interreg:
The support programme for cross-frontier regional co-operation. Part of the structural funds.

 

J
JC:
Joint Committee. The EEA Joint Committee is the joint body responsible for the ongoing management of the EEA Agreement. It is made up of the ambassadors of the EEA EFTA States to the EU and the representatives of the European Commission and EU Member States.

JCD:
Joint Committee Decision. Whenever an EEA-relevant legal act is amended or a new one adopted on the EU side, a corresponding amendment needs to be made to the relevant annex of the EEA Agreement. This is essential for maintaining the principle of homogeneity of the EEA.

 

K


Lisbon Process:
A voluntary co-ordination of social and employment policy amongst Member States launched in 2000 to make Europe more dynamic and competitive. The process was re-launched in 2005, with the renewed Lisbon Strategy focusing more strongly on growth and jobs.

 


MEP:
Member of the European Parliament

MRA:
Mutual Recognition Agreement

Mutual recognition:
Instead of making standards within the EU consistent (harmonisation) by imposing a common, cross-EU law, the EU often uses the method of “mutual recognition” of standards. Mutual recognition means that a national standard in one country – for example regarding product specifications – is valid in all.

 

N


OECD:
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

OJ:
Official Journal of the European Communities. Publishes all EU decisions and proposals for legislation, in both written and electronic form.

Open Method of Coordination:
Instead of binding legislation the EU uses soft law and voluntary coordination in some areas, for example in the social and employment field.

 


Pillars: 
A metaphor commonly used to describe the EU as a structure resting on three pillars. The “Community pillar”, Foreign and Security Policy, and Justice and Home Affairs. The EEA two-pillar system leaves out the Foreign and Security Policy.


 

R
 


Standing Committee:
The Standing Committee of the EFTA States is the forum in which the EEA EFTA States consult one another and arrive at a position before meeting with the EU side in the EEA Joint Committee.

Subcommittee I:
Subcommittee dealing with the free movement of goods

Subcommittee II:
Subcommittee dealing with the free movement of capital and services and company law

Subcommittee III:
Subcommittee dealing with the free movement of persons

Subcommittee IV:
Subcommittee dealing with flanking and horizontal policies

Subcommittee V:
Subcommittee dealing with legal and institutional matters

SEA:
Single European Act

SME:
Small and medium-sized enterprises

Structural funds: 
Structural funds are designed to achieve economic and social cohesion (within the EU)

 

T
 

TBT:
Technical barriers to trade

 

U
 

 


VAT:
Value added tax


White Paper:
A document containing concrete proposals for law-making in a policy area. They are issued i.e. by the Commission and may follow a consultation process launched by a Green Paper.

X
 

Y
 

Z