From an economic union to a legal union…
The European Union is a unique creation, with the objective of uniting 28 sovereign European states in terms of movement of people, goods and capital.
While each member state maintains its sovereignty, law-making power has in many areas been conferred on the EU by the member states in order to achieve its objective. This has affected numerous areas relating to European commerce, not in the least competition rules and common commercial policy.
‘EU Law’ is a complex body. The EU treaties represent the primary source of EU law. The principal secondary sources of EU law take the form of ‘Regulations’, ‘Directives’, ‘Decisions’, and ‘Recommendations and Opinions’. Decisions of the European Court of Justice supplement these sources of law. Some forms of secondary legislation have direct effect in each member state; others rely on enabling legislation enacted by each member state; and others are not binding in the strict legal sense, rather have ‘merely’ persuasive value.
As a result, the effect and influence of EU law (both direct and indirect) must be taken into account when interpreting German laws in varying circumstances. This applies to several of the areas of law in which we specialize, in particular:
- General terms and conditions of trade and contract law;
- Employment law;
- Company and partnership law;
- Antitrust and competition law;
- Marketing law; and
- Distribution law.
EU law also has special application with respect to European private international law and enforcements of judgments within the member states.