Concepts of direct applicability and direct effect in the European Union law

  • Koraljka Sansović Ministarstvo vanjskih i europskih poslova
Keywords: direct applicability, direct effect, regulations, directives, European law


The paper analyses the concepts of direct applicability and direct effect, which were created and developed as the result of the practical usage of regulations and directives which are binding acts of secondary legislation. The author proves that in certain cases direct effect is acknowledged to directives, but denied to regulations; that in the case of directives, direct application is often the result of direct effect, and in the case of regulations, direct effect is in most cases the result
of direct application; and that those concepts are sometimes and with respect to certain legal documents mutually conditioned, and sometimes not. Through the case by case method, the author goes on to claim that these are exceptions from the general rule and a consequence of the request for effectiveness of European law at the national level, as well as of the implementation of law. Nevertheless, those requirements and methods do not jeopardise the original basic legal rules, and although they derogate, they do not abolish the written basic legal rules.
The requirements are necessary due to the development of European law and the accomplishment of its goals, and could be put at risk by the application of strict formalism. The European Court of Justice, as one of the creators of European law, strives not to abolish, but rather to call into question all interpretative rules that would represent or lead to formal legal thinking, and the application of rules that would in essence represent a kind of ontological consistency and reflect a grammatical obedience of the rules. However, it does not take into account the  legal consequences. The concepts of direct effect and direct applicability should be regarded in such a spirit because their definitions are also in the process of parallel development with the development of European law as a whole, and taking into account that they are and should be the mechanisms of effective functioning of European law, rather than a restrictive factor in the way of the law achieving its goal.