Acquis Communautaire [RO: acquis comunitar, NL: gemeenschapsrecht, FR: L’acquis Communtaire] = often simply shortened to ‘acquis’, it refers to the complete and cumulative body of European Union (EU) legal and policy framework from 1957 to the present day, consisting of the common rights and obligations binding for all of the EU Member States. It is a dynamic instrument constantly changing and evolving comprised of the primary sources of European Union law, such as the general principles of EU law and political objectives of the founding Treaties of the EU, the secondary legislation adopted in application of the Treaties (Regulations, Directives and Decisions); the declarations and resolutions adopted by the EU; the measures regarding the Common Foreign and Security Policy; the measures related to Justice and Home Affairs, as well as the international agreements concluded by the EU. It also includes the European Court of Justice case law, the European judicature being the official interpreter of the European Union legal framework as well as of the protocols, general principles of EU law and off all the non-binding instruments such as declarations or communications issued by the EU. Furthermore, according to the European Court of Justice the interpretation of the EU acquis takes precedence over national law if there is a conflict, and that the acquis has a direct effect over the Member States national law.

The complete acceptance of the European Union acquis represents a necessary condition to which any candidate state to the European Union must adhere before their final accession.

Legislation: Treaty of the European Union, Article 5 [English] – Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union [Engish] - European Charter of Fundamental Rights [English]

Case law: – European Court of Justice, NV Algemene Transport- en Expeditie Onderneming van Gend & Loos v Netherlands Inland Revenue Administration, 1963 – European Court of Justice, Flaminio Costa v E.N.E.L, 1964 – European Court of Justice, Internationale Handelsgesellschaft mbH v Einfuhr- und Vorratsstelle für Getreide und Futtermittel, 1979 – European Court of Justice, Amministrazione delle Finanze dello Stato v Simmenthal SpA, 1978


Foster, N, 2012, EU Law, OUP [English]

Horspool M, Hymphreys M Wells-Greco, M, 2016, European Union Law, United Kingdom, OUP [English]

A Biondi, P Eieckhout, S Ripley, 2012, EU Law After Lisbon, Oxford Scholarship Online [English]

H Collins, 2008, The European Civil Code : the way forward, CUP [English]

Online Journals: -  M van der Sluis, 2016, EU law for a new generation?, OUP [English] - V Miller , 2011, The EU’s Acquis Communautaire, House of Commons Library [English] – A Magen, 2007,  Transformative Engagement through Law: The Acquis Cummunautaire as an Instrument of EU External Influence Special Issue Approximation to EU Law, European Journal of Law Reform [English] – H Grabbe, 2002, European Union Conditionality and the Acquis Communautaire, International Political Science Review [English] - T Börzel, 2011, Move Closer! New Modes of Governance and Accession to the European Union, Law and Economics Review 2 [English]

Organizations: - European Commission – European Parliament

By Ramin Rahnema