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European Union Research Guide: EUR-Lex

About EUR-Lex

EUR-Lex is an official website of the European Union. Legislation, case law, and other public documents are published on EUR-Lex. It is a central source of primary European Union law.

Documents on EUR-Lex are freely accessible and available in the 24 official languages of the EU.


Available on EUR-Lex:

  • the authentic Official Journal of the European Union
  • EU law (EU treaties, directives, regulations, decisions, consolidated legislation, etc.)
  • preparatory acts (legislative proposals, reports, green and white papers, etc.)
  • EU case law (judgments, orders, etc.)
  • international agreements (all the instruments produced by the EU in the exercise of its international responsibilities)
  • EFTA documents (acts adopted by the EFTA institutions: Surveillance Authority, Standing Committee, Court)
  • summaries of EU legislation, which put legal acts into a policy context, explained in plain language
  • other public documents

The database is updated daily with some texts dating back to 1951.

EUR-Lex content is grouped into "sectors," each represented by a number or letter.

1 - Treaties 2 - International Agreements 3 - Legislation
4 - Complementary Legislation 5 - Preparatory Acts 6 - Case Law 
7 - National Transposition Measures 8 - References to National Case Law Concerning EU Law 9 - Parliamentary Questions
0 - Consolidated Acts C - Other Documents Published in the Official Journal C Series E - EFTA Documents


CELEX Numbers

Most documents on EUR-Lex have a unique identifying number called its CELEX number. Knowing a document's CELEX number helps you retrieve material faster. Being able to interpret a CELEX number helps you identify important information about a document quickly.

The basic makeup of a CELEX number is Sector + Year + Doc Type + Document Number. This infographic explains how to interpret a CELEX number, and how changing a single unit changes the identification of the document:

Locating Documents

Search for documents using the quick, advanced, or "Find results by" search functions.

  • Quick Search
    • The Quick Search box is at the top of every page.
    • Performs a full-text search of particular fields, like title, author, text CELEX number, and other metadata. See the full list on this page.
    • After your initial Quick Search, you can refine your results by year, author, and other filters.
  • Advanced Search
    • Click through the Advanced Search link and select one or more "collection," like treaties, legislation, or national case law.
    • Narrow your results further by specifying dates, author, or other particulars.
  • Find Results By
    • The Find Results By box is located on the homepage.
    • Use this function to quickly retrieve documents for which you have an identifying document number or CELEX number.

Browse for documents according to subject, institution, or keyword.

  • Browse by subject using Directories.
  • Browse by various EU Institution or Body.
    • Each is involved somehow in the decision-making process.
    • Institutions include European Parliament, Council of the European Union, European Commission, and others.
  • Browse by keyword using EuroVoc: the EU's multilingual and multidisciplinary thesaurus.
    • Keywords are organized into 21 major categories ("domains") which are broken down into a total of 127 sub-domains.
    • Selecting a topic through EuroVoc allows you to browse the documents of multiple institutions and of multiple types at once (instead of selecting a single Directory or single institution).