How Does European Law Work?

There are three basic types of EU legislation "hard law": 


  • Regulations - A regulation is similar to a national law with the difference that it is applicable in all EU countries.
  • Directives - Directives set out general rules to be transferred into national law by each country as they deem appropriate.
  • Decisions - A decision only deals with a particular issue and specifically mentioned persons or organisations.


Once a regulation is in place, it can be Amended (addition and deletion of information) or it can be Repealed (completely removed). It can be tricky to keep up with the amendment and repealing process, so the EASA website has the option to view a Consolidated version of the Law, which contains all amendments. Also on the EASA website, there are useful guidance documents to give some clarity and simplification on some of the rules.


AMC - Acceptable Means of Compliance - So called "soft law" - this gives guidance on how to conform with the regulations.


CS​ - Certification Specifications "soft law"