Harmonisation (Ro.: armonizarea legislatiilor, Fr.: harmonization, n.f., Gr.: εναρμόνιση νομοθεσιών, Cz.: harmonizace) (See also: internal market, EU integration, national legislations, primary law, uniformisation, economic integration, lex mercatoria, positive/negative integration) =  

(specific meaning) the goal and process of achieving a mutually compatible standard in the legislations of the member states of the European Union, but not until total uniformity is reached; this takes place by producing or removing laws and its purpose is to create fair trading environment in the internal market. 

(broad meaning) the process through which the different national laws are to be modified in order to increase predictability in cross-border commercial transactions (used, for instance, by UNCITRAL)


Useful links

Legislation - Directive 2003/33/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 May 2003 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to the advertising and sponsorship of tobacco products [English] – REGULATION (EU) No 168/2013 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 15 January 2013 on the approval and market surveillance of two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles [English] - European Parliament and Council Directive 94/34/EC of 30 June 1994 amending Directive 89/107/EEC on the approximation of the laws of Member States concerning food additives authorized for use in foodstuffs intended for human consumption [English] - European Parliament and Council Directive 94/35/EC of 30 June 1994 on sweeteners for use in foodstuffs [English] - Council Directive 90/239/EEC of 17 May 1990 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning the maximum tar yield of cigarettes [English] - Council Directive 73 /241 /EEC of 24 July 1973 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to cocoa and chocolate products intended for human consumption [English]

Case law - European Commission v. Spain, Case C-12/00, Judgment of the Court of January 16, 2003 - Rewe-Zentral AG v Bundesmonopolverwaltung für Branntwein. - Reference for a preliminary ruling: Hessisches Finanzgericht - Germany. - Measures heaving an effect equivalent to quantitative restrictions. - Case 120/78, Judgment of the Court of  February 20, 1979 – The Queen v. British American Tobacco (Investments) Ltd, , REFERENCE to the Court under Article 234 EC by the High Court of Justice of England and Wales, Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court), for a preliminary ruling in the proceedings pending, Case C-491/01, Judgment of the Court of December 10, 2002   - Lidl Italia Srl v Comune di Arcole (VR), Reference for a preliminary ruling from the Giudice di pace di Monselice, Case C-315/05, Judgment of the Court of November 23, 2006

Online Publications - Gomez F., Ganuza, J.J., 2011, An Economic Analysis of Harmonization Regimes: FULL HARMONIZATION, MINIMUM HARMONIZATION OR OPTIONAL INSTRUMENT?  Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain

Low, G., 2009, The (Ir)Relevance of Harmonization and Legal Diversity to European Contract Law: A Perspective from Psychology. European Review of Private Law, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 285-305; Tilburg Institute of Comparative and Transnational Law Working Paper No. 2009/8. Available at SSRN:

Low, G., 2012, Unitas via Diversitas: Can the Common European Sales Law Harmonize Through Diversity? Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law, Vol. 1, 2012; Maastricht Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2012/2. Available at SSRN: or

Smits, Jan M., 2009, Full Harmonization of Consumer Law? A Critique of the Draft Directive on Consumer Rights. European Review of Private Law, Vol. 18, pp. 5-14, 2010. Available at SSRN: – E.-J. Lohse, The Meaning of Harmonisation in the Context of European Community Law – a Process in Need of Definition, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg - Rozmus M., Topa I., Walczak M., 2010, Harmonisation of Criminal Law in the EU legislation – The current status and the impact of the Treaty of Lisbon, Themis - Pennings G., 2004, Legal harmonization and reproductive tourism in Europe, Centre for Environmental Philosophy and Bioethics, Ghent University Human Reproduction Vol.19, No.12 pp. 2689–2694 - UNITED NATIONS COMMISSION ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE LAW, 2013, A Guide to UNCITRAL Basic facts about the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, Vienna.


Ganuza J.J., Gomez F., 2011, Optimal Harmonized Standards to Promote CrossBorder Trade, Working Paper, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain

Gomez, F. & Ganuza, J.J., 2012, How to build European private law: an economic analysis of the lawmaking and harmonization dimensions in European private law, European Journal of Law and Economics, vol. 33/2012, Issue 3, pp. 481-503

Goldman B., 1980, La lex mercatoria dans les contrats et l’arbitrage internationaux: réalité et perspectives, dans Travaux du comité français de droit international privé, Années 1977-1979, Éditions du C.N.R.S.

Kalemli-Ozcana S., Papaioannoub E., Peydróc J.-L., 2010, What lies beneath the euro's effect on financial integration? Currency risk, legal harmonization, or trade?, Journal of International Economics, Volume 81, Issue 1, pp.75–88

Hadfield, 2008, The Public and the Private in the Provision of Law for Global Transactions, in Gessner (ed.), Contractual Certainty in International Trade: Empirical Studies and Theoretical Debates on Institutional Support for Global Economic Exchanges, Hart Publishing, pp. 239-256

O’Hara, Ribstein, 2009, The Law Market, Oxford University Press, pp. 3-17, 26-36, 65-84

Vogenauer, S and Weatherill, S., 2006, The Harmonisation of European Contract Law Implications for European Private Laws, Business and Legal Practice - Oxford and Portland, Oregon: Hart Publishing.

Threlfall M., 2003, European Social Integration: Harmonization, Convergence and Single Social Areas, Department of European Studies, Loughborough University, Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 13 no. 2, pp.121-139


By Diana Buzilă