EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life


A regulation is a form of legal measure enacted by the EU institutions that is widely used in various areas. Article 288 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) stipulates: ‘A regulation shall have general application. It shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States’. In this context, ‘direct applicability’ means that the Member States usually do not have to enact implementing measures. Regulations are therefore legislative acts which may be relied on before the courts in all Member States, without the need for national measures to be adopted by Member States.

In the field of the EU law on employment and industrial relations, regulations are particularly prominent in the area concerning free movement of workers. Two notable examples are Regulation 1612/68 which provides for the right to take up an activity as an employed person and to pursue such activity within the territory of another Member State (amended by Regulation (EEC) 312/76 and Regulation (EEC) 2434/92); and Regulation 1251/70 which provides for the right to remain in the territory of a Member State after having been employed in that state.

See also: direct effect; EU law.

Please note: the European industrial relations dictionary is updated annually. If errors are brought to our attention, we will try to correct them.
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