Regulation and Directives Law and Legal Definition

Regulation and directives in EU law differ. EU directives lay down requirements that must be achieved in every Member State. National authorities have to adapt their laws to meet these goals, but are free to decide how to do so. Directives may concern one or more Member States, or all of them.

Directives are used to bring different national laws into line with each other, and are particularly common in matters affecting the operation of the single market (e.g. product safety standards).

Regulations are the most direct form of EU law and take effect in every Member State as soon a they are enacted, similar to national laws. National governments do not have to take action themselves to implement EU regulations. They differ from directives, which are addressed to national authorities, who must then take action to make them part of national law. Regulations are passed either jointly by the EU Council and European Parliament, and by the Commission alone.