The European Union Law is considered an exotic law dish for many lawyers worldwide and for this reason its study is often relegated. However, the EU Law represents the current version of the Roman Empire Lawthat includes a version of a Jus Gentium for those who are not European citizens that reside within the European Union, and it includes also a version of a Jus Civile for the exclusive benefit of those who areEuropean Union Citizens. The EU Law has been developed in a way that it regulates many areas of a person’s life and it impacts even the non EU-citizens. Furthermore, and if you consider that 28 Member States that apply the EU law to more than four hundred million inhabitants, are not enough reasons to make of the EU Law a regular subject of your study, I will provide you with a few details that may change your mind.
Regarding the EU Law and it’s characteristics, this branch of transnational law has been created during the last sixty years and it has been going hand in hand with the European integration process. The EU Law has its own principles such as the prevalence of fundamental rights of persons; proportionality or the necessity to limit the EU Law intervention to the minimum necessary to achieve the European Union goals, legal certainty, equality before the law and subsidiarity or the possibility to use EU law as the last alternative to regulate an issue and achieve the EU goals. This Legal system as any other Legal system has also its own hierarchy. Within this hierarchy, we found for instance, the EU Regulations that become immediately enforceable as law in all member states simultaneously once they are enacted by the Council. There are also the EU Directives which in order that member states achieve certain results, provide them with enough autonomy to choose the best way to reach these results when transposing the EU Directive within their national legislation, and there are also the EU Decisions which are binding only for those persons or States which are the addressee of them.
The EU Law will applies in some cases whether you are or you are not a European citizen and is in your interest to be aware on the EU Law If you are within the EU for tourism, business, placer, family and so on.
It is important for a foreign lawyer to study regularly the EU Law, because and despite that one of the principles of the EU Law is the legal certainty, the truth is this “new law” is far from providing legal certainty and if you work as transnational lawyer probably you will find a client affected by the EU Law.
A good example on this lack of certainty of the EU Law, take a look at the problems usually faced by non European citizens holders of a long term residence permit EC. According to several EU Regulations and the EU Directives such as the EU Directive 109 of 2003 holders of long term residence permits are entitled to the right to work and to study within another member state for indefinite periods and they shall enjoy equal treatment compared to EU Citizens as regards:
(a) access to employment and self-employed activity, provided such activities do not entail even occasional involvement in the exercise of public authority, and conditions of employment and working conditions, including conditions regarding dismissal and remuneration;
(b) education and vocational training, including study grants in accordance with national law;
(c) recognition of professional diplomas, certificates and other qualifications, in accordance with the relevant national procedures;
(d) social security, social assistance and social protection as defined by national law;
(e) tax benefits.
How many of the EU Members States have at 2014 given full application to this Directive in order to ease the path of a non EU Citizen to work within another EU Member State and receiving a work permit from another EU Member State? Not many of them and, on the contrary you may find a never ending legal procedure required to non European workers in order to work in a EU Member State.
Another example of the particularity on the EU Law is that despite its “subsidiary nature”, the EU Lawcurrently applies to almost all areas of a person’s life, such as business and investments, at this regard is well known that the EU Law over regulates the sanitary and safety requirements that all products that will be exported within the European Union shall be meet to enter the market, regarding taxes, marriage, residence, custody of children, divorce, work, healthcare and so on. Although the EU Law has as one of its multiple goals to harmonize legal systems between its Member States; the truth is the EU Law instead of contributing to create a uniform and light legal system within the European Union, it has contributed to make of the European Union an over regulated territory full of national and European legal provisions that leave a short space to private initiatives and no space to legal certainty.
In conclusion, The EU Law is a “new law” far from being “exotic” not only because of the widenumber of countries that apply it currently, but based on the number of subjects, people it regulates and the importance at world trade level of the European Union. These are reasons more than enough to pay attention to this law and to make of it a regular subject of study for a foreign lawyer. By this way if you are a transnational lawyer you may provide a morecomprehensive legal counsel regarding the effects of the EU Law on the personal and professional aspects of a person’s life impacted by the EU Law.
Gerente Legal y de negocios Open Trade Consultants s.a.s
Experta en procesos de internacionalización