Article 189 of the EEC Treaty defines the legal acts that the Community institutions may take and the legal effect those acts may have.
Accordingly, the Council and the Commission may issue regulations, directives, decisions, recomendations or opinions.
Regulations, directives and decisions are capable of creating "direct effects." Art. 189 of the EEC states that regulations are to be of "general application." See Leonisco v Italian Ministry of Agriculture (case 93/71). A directive combining a deadline for implementation is only capable of creatig direct effects from the date of the deadline (See publico Ministero v Ratti (case 148/78) 1979.
Directives are binding, but it is up to the national authorities to chose a method of its application. National legislation must be interpreted in the light of wording and purpose of the directive. The ECJ held that the duty of Member States to achieve the results envisaged by the directive and their duty to ensure fulfilment of that obligation binds all authorities within the Member States including national courts. The Court of Justice went further to say national courts must interpret and apply legislation adopted to implement a directive in the light of the wording and purpose of the directive in order to achieve the objective of the directive.( See Von Closon and Kamman v Land NordheimWestfalen (case 14/83) 1984.
A decision is binding in its entirety. In EP v Council (case C-42/97) the Europan Court of Justice concluded that the effect of the Council decision was appropriate.
On the other hand, recommendations and opinions have no binding force.
Gabriel Sawma Esq.
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