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Legal personality of the Union

Article 47 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) explicitly recognises the legal personality of the European Union (EU). Until now, only the European Community (EC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC) had legal personality.

The conferral of legal personality to the EU accompanies the merging of the Community with the European Union, leaving only the European Union. It also results in the removal of the pillar structure. Under this structure, the 2nd and 3rd pillars, covering the CFSP and police and judicial cooperation on criminal matters respectively, were governed by intergovernmental cooperation, while the first pillar encompassed the other European policies to which the Community method was applied. The aim of this simplification is to increase the efficiency, consistency and visibility of EU action.

The conferral of legal personality on the Union means that it henceforth has the ability to conclude and negotiate international agreements in accordance with its external commitments, to become a member of international organisations and to join international conventions, such as the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

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