A New Article on Primary and Secondary Law-making in the EU in Trames

Jaanika Erne |

Estonian Academy Publishers

Estonian Academy Publishers

A new article J. Erne, “Primary and secondary law-making in the renewed EU has appeared in the journal of the humanities and social sciences „Trames“, Vol. 14, Issue 3, 2010, pp. 250-270.


The aim of the article is to explain the renewed primary and secondary law-making in the EU context. The article defines international treaties and secondary law; classifies international treaties, indicates the status of secondary laws; and introduces the law-making procedures under international law, EU law, and Estonian law. The main general conclusions are that international treaties that for the purposes of this article are defined as international agreements concluded between states and / or international organizations in written form and governed by international law, can be classified as private law treaties or contractual treaties, and law-making treaties. The latter in turn can be divided into constituent international treaties and common international treaties. This is how treaties can also be defined and classified under EU law that distinguishes between the constituent treaties and international agreements. For the purposes of this article, the EU’s international agreements are defined as the EU’s agreements with third countries and / or international organizations, and the delegation for concluding such treaties comes from the constituent treaties. The EU’s international agreements can be classified by division of competences between the EU and its Member States; by subject-matter, by parties, etc. – depending on which classification the negotiation and conclusion procedures of the agreements differ. Based on the constituent treaties of the EU, the legal acts of the EU, the constituent treaties foreseeing the legal acts, the competent institution, the procedure, and the form of the act are adopted. The article gives also an overview of the Council and Commission legislation, and the renewed consultation procedure, ordinary legislative procedure, and consent procedure. In the end, the article demonstrates that the develop­ments in Estonian law reflect the international and EU law-making developments.


international treaties, international treaty-making, secondary legislation, decision-making in the EU, Estonian Foreign Relations Act, Procedure for Proceeding of the European Union Documents.