European Union law is a system of rules operating within the member states of the European Union. Since the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community following World War II, the EU has developed the aim to “promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples”.[3] The EU has political institutions, social and economic policies, which transcend nation states for the purpose of cooperation and human development.[4] According to its Court of Justice the EU represents “a new legal order of international law“.[5]

The EU’s legal foundations are the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, unanimously agreed by the governments of 27 member states. New members may join, if they agree to follow the rules of the union, and existing states may leave according to their “own constitutional requirements”.[6] Citizens are entitled to participate through the Parliament, and their respective state governments through the Council in shaping the legislation the EU makes. The Commission has the initiative for legislation, the Council of the European Union represents the elected member-state governments, the Parliament is elected by European citizens, and the Court of Justice is meant to uphold the rule of law and human rights.[7] As the Court of Justice has said, the EU is “not merely an economic union” but is intended to “ensure social progress and seek the constant improvement of the living and working conditions of their peoples”.[8]