What is EUROPA?
EUROPA is the official website of the European Union (EU). It was created in 1995. Broadly, it allows users do 3 things:
- get information on the EU and what it does
- give us feedback on EU policies, activities and services
- perform certain transactions – tender for contracts, apply for jobs, enrol for events, order and buy documents, etc.
How up-to-date is EUROPA?
Information is revised whenever necessary – depending on changes introduced by treaties, meetings and other events. Many pages are updated daily.
For a rundown of new pages added to EUROPA each day, click on What's new?.
Who’s behind EUROPA?
EUROPA is not a single site - it is an amalgamation of some 150 different sites, each managed independently by the differentplus the individual departments (Directorates-General) of the Commission.
All top level/access pages are administered by the European Commission, in partnership with the other European institutions.
What languages is EUROPA available in?
Our aim is to provide you with information in your own language - or one you can understand - depending on what kind of information you are looking for.
Official languages of the EU
Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish.
Other official languages of EU countries
In future, there will be special rules for languages like Valencian/Catalan, Basque, Galician, etc. Arrangements are being negotiated with the countries concerned, which will have to bear the costs themselves.
Languages in which different information is published on EUROPA
Legislation and documents of political importance
Published in all official languages.
Available in at least those languages which were official at the date of publication. Documents which are not legally binding are usually published in English, French and German.
Published in the twelve new official languages (since 2004-07: Bulgarian, Czech, Estonian, Hungarian, Irish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian) as and when it is translated.
Information which is urgent or has a short lifespan
Not published in all languages.
Specialised information (technical information, campaigns, calls for tender) and news / events
Not necessarily published in all languages – the choice depends on the target audience.
Surprised information isn't available in your language?
EUROPA users are often surprised that a EUROPA page isn't available in their language.
Especially for the countries that recently joined the EU (in 2004 and 2007), this is simply because we've not yet had time to translate everything.
But some sites are only available in 3, 2 or even 1 language (usually English).
Generally, the languages available on EUROPA depend on the following constraints:
- translation – we only have (access to) limited numbers of translators and a limited budget for translation (all taxpayers' money)
(legal) importance – the public must have access to all legislation and documents of major public importance/interest, so these are produced in all official languages.
Other documents are translated only into the ("working") languages needed (for example, communication with national authorities, organisations or individuals)
- cost-effectiveness – to save taxpayers' money, for highly-specialised sites consulted only by relatively small numbers of people, the concern is to ensure most can understand the essence of the information, even if some will have to read official documents in a foreign language
- urgency – to be relevant, some types of information need to be published rapidly. Since translation takes time, we prefer to publish quickly in the languages understood by the largest number of Europeans, rather than waiting for translations into all languages
- technical constraints – managing a site in over 20 languages is highly complex, requiring lots of human and financial resources
Taking all this into account, we will be gradually implementing the following approach:
- the first and second level of each site will contain simple and stable pages giving information for the general public, in all official languages.
Translations will be published quickly in the 11 languages of the pre-2004 member countries and more slowly for the newer languages
- pages containing short-lived or very specialised information will generally be published (where possible) in the 3 languages most widely spoken in the EU (English, French and German), although fewer (or other) languages might be used, depending on the audience
Where can I find copyright information on EUROPA?
How do I link to EUROPA?
You can link to EUROPA from any external site if you meet the following conditions:
- Links should where possible be illustrated with
If you cannot use logos or trademarks, you can use text links (for example: “For more information, see the EUROPA website”), subject to the conditions below.
and/or trademarks owned and/or licensed by the European institutions and should comply with the instructions provided.
- Links can be made only to pages displaying the EUROPA Legal Notice
- When users access EUROPA via an external link, it should be perfectly clear to them that they are viewing information that is free and not exclusive.
- Links should not give the impression that the EU institutions endorse or support the objectives or contents of the host website or the organisation managing it.
- If links are made from a frames-based website, the pages should not be displayed as frames on that site in a way that might mislead users as to their true origin.
- As soon as you make a link to us, notify the EUROPA webmaster by sending the URL of the page where the link appears – so we can check whether your site has followed points 1-5 above.
Is EUROPA accessible to everyone?
In 2001, the Commission pledged to make EUROPA more accessible for older people and people with disabilities.
The ways it is doing this are set out in this EU policy paper – accessible EU websites [102KB]
Work has already begun to make new and updated EUROPA pages compliant with conformance level A, meaning they satisfy all priority 1 criteria in the internationally accepted Web Content Accessibility Guidelines issued by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) project.
Some top-level EUROPA sites (such as the EUROPA and European Commission homepages) already meet conformance level A and contain a logo to that effect.