Legislation in an EU context

Legislation lies at the heart of EU’s activities and of the RENFORCE research program. It is a key instrument to shape EU policies. At the same time, it is marked by the fundamental tension between unity and diversity. Unity is a core value in the EU and is based on the need to protect collective interests; to create level-playing fields for individuals across the EU and to prevent distortions to the functioning of the Internal market and market failures more generally. Where unity prevails, EU legislation is elaborate, precise, concrete and detailed.

But Diversity is a core value in the EU too. Caution with legislating too much at the central level is justified from the interest of legislating as close to the citizen as possible and to accommodates national and local diversity and diverging policy preferences better. The diversity core value is reflected in general principles of EU law such as subsidiarity (art. 5 TEU) and respect for national constitutional traditions (art. 4 TEU), but manifests itself most prominently in concrete EU legislation itself. Where diversity prevails, EU legislation leaves freedom to the Member States and to individuals and sets general objectives rather than specifying the measures to achieve these objectives with great exactitude. Thus, all EU legislation may be seen as the outcome of a particular balancing of unity and diversity.

The results of the RENFORCE research program thus far, suggest that a great variety in EU legislation exists to accommodate this tension and in balancing unity and diversity. This project seeks to explore this variety in a more systematic manner; to explain it and to identify which factors contribute to it; to examine the main trends in this regard and to assess how variety in EU legislation relates to common concepts and principles of EU law as well as legislative policies (Better Lawmaking, Smart Regulation etc.).