Codification and consolidation

(Photo: Lis Lak)

Codification and consolidation

The EU has decided to assemble all laws relating to similar areas and simplify the regulations. This is called codification.

In the annual report for 2009 the Commission mentioned a total of 220 codifications replacing 1090 acts and saving 2000 pages in the Official Journal. The total number of EU legal acts is still increasing. See under "Numbers". From 2004-09 1600 acts have been simplified. 

A similar project unifies laws into a single text - i.e. consolidates them - by adding any amendments into the text of what is being amended.  It often happens that the separation of different documents containing a principal  law and possibly several later amendments to it makes it impossible for the non-professional to understand the actual legal situation. Even experts often find this difficult.   

In February 2003, the Commission decided to reduce the existing 100,000 or so pages of EU law in the Official Journal by 35,000 by 2005. In 2006 the Vice-President of the Commission, Günter Verheugen, regretted that this process was proving very slow. 

In 2009 there were 26,559 legal acts in force under 20 different chapters and 17,579 of these had been introduced within the previous 10 years. 

Since 2005, the Acquis had grown by an average of 1,887 legal acts a year. 

Some of the acts have been counted under different headings and would reduce the above-mentioned numbers by some 20%.  

See Number of laws for the latest figures



European Commission - Better regulation