Understanding the Difference between EU Directives and EU Regulations

Understanding the Difference between
EU Directives and EU Regulations

Understanding the legislative intricacies of the European Union (EU) is quite challenging for people working in the domain of environment, health and safety management.

In particular, getting a hold of EU directives and regulations regarding medical devices have become quite a daunting task because the current medical directives will be withdrawn in 2020 and new medical regulations are already in place since last year.

In this article, we will try to clear the difference between directives and regulations (both are legal acts) of EU in the most easiest and understandable manner. Let’s have a look.

Features of EU Directives and Regulations

EU directive is a piece of legal act furnished by the European Parliament which demands member states to accomplish a particular set of goals without dictating the means to do it.Respective national institutions (usually the parliament) are then tasked to integrate the directives into the country’s legislation and to come up with their own rules to achieve the essence of directives.

Regulations are those EU legislative acts that have direct implications for member states and don’t require any further deliberations. In a sense, they are considered as an act of parliament for every member country because they are immediately applicable and can be enforced through law like any piece of local legislation.

Regulations are equally pertinent to every member state of the EU.

Differences between Directives and Regulations

With directives, member countries get more leeway to implement the subject matter of the legislative act. They can work on their own pace to turn up with the means of implementation and other necessary legislative actions.

On the other hand, regulations are more direct, inflexible pieces of legislation. No further deliberations are needed, or rather allowed, regarding the implementation of EU regulations. They come into effect as soon as they get ratified by the EU parliament.

In their legislative power, regulations are unparalleled to any other constituent of EU law book. However, directives don’t have the same stature of legislative power.

Attention to Details

Because of their far-reaching consequences and authority, regulations are finalized after rigorous thought processing and by taking care of all the factors that affect the regulations or will be affected by them. Moreover, regulations have multiple subclasses.

Meanwhile directives don’t involve so much painstaking in their creation. They are loosely based on the instruction conveyed to the member states.

Degree of their Effect

As mentioned earlier, regulations are rolled out for each and every member state of the EU. Usually, directives are also applicable to every EU country, but sometimes they can be addressed to a single EU member or a select group of them.

Different Approaches of Implementation

Since directives provide liberty regarding their implementation, you can notice the same directive getting implemented in various member states through dissimilar approaches.

For instance, a directive on reducing industrial emissions, 2010/75/EU, has been implemented by every member state in a different manner.