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Frequently asked questions on finding EU publications and documents

These tips will help you navigate the publications and documentation centre section on Europa and locate the publication or document you require. Guidance includes answers to the questions raised most frequently by users.

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General questions

What can I find in this section?

Links to different types of EU documents, lists of libraries (both online and “real”) , explanations of EU legislation and the EU treaties, statistics and opinion polls divided by topic, newsletters on EU affairs, databases, manuals and archives.

You will also find information on publishing on or for the EU.

Which publications and official documents can I access?

In this section you can find links to general publications, statistics, opinion polls, official documents, legislation, treaties and archives. Documents can be found online, or at a library or documentation centre near you.

How can I download and/or order a publication?

Click on ‘Order or download a publication’ to see your options. Publications created by the EU institutions and other bodies can be downloaded or ordered free-of-charge. You may also wish to subscribe to a newsletter on a specific policy area or topic.

Where can I find information on EU law in force?

Within the ‘Legislation and treaties’ section you will find a link to a database of EU legislation (directives, decisions, international agreements and other acts). Use the links here to go to the correct search page according to whether you wish to search by document number, reference number or keyword. You may also browse documents by topic if you would like an overview of existing legislation.
The EUR-Lex website provides free access to the world’s largest documentary repository on European Union law. pdf - 280 KB [280 KB] Deutsch (de) français (fr)

How do I find a specific directive/regulation/decision?

Go to the section ‘Legislation and treaties’. From there you are able to search by document number, the Official Journal reference number or keyword. If you are searching by keyword, include as many as possible, including the date if you have it. If the search returns a large number of records, you can refine the search so that only directives are listed. Do this by clicking on ‘refine’. Then select ‘type of document’, and finally choose ‘Directives’.

Where can I find the text of EU Treaties?

Select ‘Legislation and treaties’. Under the heading ‘Treaties’ you will find links to information on specific treaties, as well as to pages providing an overview of the agreements and links to the full texts.

What are ‘official EU documents’?

EU institutions, agencies and bodies publish official papers. They range from decisions by the European Ombudsman to speeches, communications and white papers. Below are brief explanations of some of the documents:

Legislation

  • Directive – a legislative act that requires all EU countries to achieve a particular result but does not dictate how the result should be achieved.
  • Regulation – a legislative act that is immediately enforceable as law in all EU countries.
  • Decision – a binding ruling that can be addressed to an EU country, individual or company.

Other documents

  • Communication – a proposal for legislation issued by the European Commission.
  • Green Paper – a discussion document intended to stimulate debate and launch a consultation process.
  • White Paper – an authoritative report addressing a specific challenge and how to solve it. Often follows a green paper.
  • Recommendations/Opinions/Resolutions – non-binding declarations
How can I find them through the website?

On the page ‘Official documents’, separate links take you to the documents issued by each EU institution, registers of documents for the main EU institutions and the documents issued by the Agencies and other EU bodies.

Where can I find information about citizens’ rights in the EU?

In the section ‘Legislation and treaties’, go to ‘Treaties’ to find a link to the Charter of Fundamental Human Rights – a single text bringing together civil, political, economic and social rights. Additional information can be found in the ‘Your EU rights’ section, which is accessible from the Europa homepage.

What statistics can I find in this section?

In the section ’EU Statistics and opinion polls’ you can browse official statistics reports covering a huge range of topics (environment, economy etc.). Eurostat statistics can be sorted by subject and/or alphabetically.

Statistics on public opinion can be found within Eurobarometer surveys as well as other studies on various European issues.

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