Acquis communautaire is a French term referring to the cumulative body of European Community laws, comprising the EC’s objectives, substantive rules, policies and, in particular, the primary and secondary legislation and case law – all of which form part of the legal order of the European Union (EU). This includes all the treaties, regulations and directives passed by the European institutions, as well as judgements laid down by the European Court of Justice. The acquis is dynamic, constantly developing as the Community evolves, and fundamental. All Member States are bound to comply with the acquis communautaire.
The term is most often used in connection with preparations by candidate countries to join the Union. They must adopt, implement and enforce all the acquis to be allowed to join the EU. As well as changing national laws, this often means setting up or changing the necessary administrative or judicial bodies which oversee the legislation.
That part of the acquis communautaire, which is concerned with regulation of employment and industrial relations, constitutes the foundation for Europeanisation of employment and industrial relations in the Member States of the EU, and the basis for a European system of employment and industrial relations.