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The Negotiation Procedure

Acquis Communautaire

It is the concept of the «acquis communautaire» which permits the EU to maintain its cohesion and to proceed with its objective of deepening, despite its increasing number of members resulting from its successive enlargements. All that has been achieved with respect to European integration up until the date a new member state accedes to the Union, constitutes an indivisible whole, the acquis communautaire, that each new member state is obliged to accept and effectively implement. As it stands today, the acquis consists of :

  • the content, principles and political objectives of the Treaties (including those of the Treaty of Amsterdam);
  • legislation adopted pursuant to the Treaties, and the case law of the Court of Justice;
  • statements and resolutions adopted within the Union framework;
  • joint actions, common positions, declarations, conclusions and other acts within the framework of the common foreign and security policy;
  • joint actions, joint positions, conventions signed, resolutions, statements and other acts agreed within the framework of justice and home affairs;
  • international Agreements concluded by the Community and those concluded among themselves by the member states with regard to Union activities.

No permanent derogation from the acquis communautaire is permitted. In exceptional circumstances temporary derogations and transitional periods may be agreed, with the aim of allowing the new member state to gradually harmonize itself towards the acquis in sectors where exceptional difficulties are confronted. But the principle must be retained of acceptance of the acquis to safeguard the achievements of the Union.»

Today the acquis communautaire consists of about 80,000 pages, but it is continually being changed, improved and increased as the EU continues to more forward.


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