Direct Effect In European Union Law

The principle of direct effect in EU law stems from the formation of the European Union and its creation of overarching rules amongst its member states. These overarching rules are created in competence by the member states in order to achieve ‘…objectives that they have in common.’ In order to execute these common objectives, the principle of direct effect holds each member state accountable for the laws decided as a collective through the implementation of the European Court of Justice against member states.

Various articles in the Treaty on European Union emphasize the idea of the member states acting as a collective unit for the betterment of the European Community and the structure of the relationship between the union and its member states. However, the exact implementation of laws decided as a collective union and the consequences of not implementing European law on a national level is not explicitly stated in the treaties regarding the establishment and functioning of the European Union. The principle of direct effect rather evolved from individual circumstances where individuals or organizations implemented European Union law on a national level.

The judgement by the European Court of Justice on the Algemene Transporten Expeditie Onderneming van Gend en Loos v Nederlandse Administratie der Belastingen was one of the first steps in the
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However, like the issue of import tariffs in the Van Gend en Loos case, the legal implementation of the protection of these rights across all member states is not explicitly stated in the treaties. Therefore, cases like Reyners v Belgium have helped establish the legal obligations of member states regarding the individual rights stated in various

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