European law is the conceptual superstructure for several legal regulations on an European level, which are often interwoven.
On the one hand, European law applies directly to the authorities of the EU Member States, such as in cooperation in the field of the CFSP (Common Foreign and Security Policy) or police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. On the other hand, a legal effect for the individual citizen or the individual company is only achieved by national legislation in each Member State, which transforms adopted resolutions into national law.
There is a distinction between European law in a broader sense and European law in strict sense. The system concept of “European law in a broader sense” includes the European law in strict sense and the laws of the, standing next to the EU, organizations for intergovernmental cooperation in Europe. These are in particular the Council of Europe, the EFTA and the OSCE. European law in strict sense deals with the legal issues of the European Communities (Community law). These include the European Communities (EC), the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom) and till 2002 the European Coal and Steel Community.
The European law in strict sense distinguishes primary Community law, gen. legal principles of Community law. These contracts build the basis for the secondary Community legislation, espacially for the from the European Communities established law, guidelines and decisions as well as recommendations and statements. In rank between primary and secondary Community law are concluded by the Community by international treaties, which are also part of Community law.
The Community law acts immediately normative on the national territory, it takes precedence over any national law of each member, including the national constitutional law.