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About the EDC & EU Information

The Centre for European Legal Studies was designated an EDC by the Commission of the European Communities in 1974.

Most official publications of the European Union's institutions were received in printed form until recently, except for limited distribution documents (SEC documents) and scientific reports (EUR), and may be used by members of the University and anyone requiring information about the European Union. As electronic versions of most EU documents are now freely available we generally only keep material which is not available online. Wherever possible, links to online versions of individual titles are provided via the library catalogue.

A core collection of research material, including the Official Journal up to 1997, the Bulletin and the General Report, together with other series of annual reports is now shelved in the Law Library (shown as Lasok Law Library European Documentation Collection on the catalogue). This section also contains the European economy, Economic papers and Eurostat series.

Earlier research material, which is not online, notably the Commission (COM) documents and European Parliament reports and debates, is also shelved here on mobile shelving. Other material is stored with Old Law Editions in Research Commons level -1, including back issues of some periodicals published by the European Union.

Periodicals dealing with European Union law (e.g. Common Market law review and European law review) are shelved with the other law journals.

All books and pamphlets are catalogued and classified with the textbooks on European law (classmarks KV-KW): use the Library catalogue to locate them. Many of the documents are also available online.

Info-Europa, a weekly update of new official documents from the EU is available from the European Commission's London Office

A list of official documents published in 2015 is available in PDF format here Publications of the EU, 2015 .

EDCs form part of the Europe Direct network. This was initially a call centre designed to answer questions by telephone or e-mail in all European official languages or direct inquirers to other information sources. It now also provides information centres in all member states. The EU in your country on Europa gives contact details for all official information providers in the EU.

The University of Exeter has been recognised as an official European Documentation Centre by the European Commission since 1974 and as such receives most official publications of the European institutions, although most titles are now available electronically. Publications cover a wide range of subjects, including agriculture, economics, energy, science and technology, social affairs, trade and transport. The Statistical Office (Eurostat) publishes collections of statistics in all these areas.

European information: a guide to official sources (102 pages; 4th ed, 2010) by Patrick Overy, originally published by the now defunct European Information Association, can be downloaded from ORE (Open Research Exeter)

The Official Journal of the European Union (previously Communities)

The Official Journal (OJ) is the official gazette of the European Communities. It contains the texts of all secondary legislation, draft legislation and official announcements and information about the activities of Community institutions. Before the accession of The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland in 1973, the OJ was not published in English, as it was not an official language. However, the EDC has the Special Edition of the Official Journal of the European Communities, an official translation into English of all secondary legislation which was still in force at the time of the accession. The acts are listed in chronological order. The Official Journal is published in two sections: Legislation (L series) and Information and notices (C series, from the French title Communications et notices).


This series contains the texts of all secondary legislation.

Regulations generally concern trade or agriculture, but are also used to implement conventions. They apply directly in the member states. 
Directives are not directly applicable in national law but are implemented in the UK by statutes and statutory instruments.
Decisions apply to specific organisations (as in merger decisions) or to member states.

Information and Notices  

Each issue is divided into three sections: 

Information about current activities of the institutions, which includes questions and answers in the European Parliament and brief details of actions before the Court of Justice, as well as the current value of the euro

Preparatory Acts contains draft legislation and opinions on it; these were transferred from the paper version to the electronic version OJ C(E) in 1999. Since 2001 draft legislation is only published as COM documents (see below).

Notices carries announcements of staff recruitment competitions. Details of competitions are published separately in the C(A) series.

This arrangement has now been extended to five sections:

I:              Resolutions, recommendations and opinions
II:             Information
III:            Preparatory acts
IV:           Notices
V:            Announcements

All issues up to 1997 are shelved on the ground floor of the Law Library in the European Documentation Collection; since 1998 the OJ has been available in full text online in all official languages on Eur-Lex.  Annual indexes to the Official Journal are shelved at the end of the sequence.

Supplement to the Official Journal 

The Supplement contains details of all public supply and work contracts for tender in the European Community. It is no longer issued on paper but is available online on the TED (Tenders Electronic Daily) web server.

Working documents of the Commission (COM Documents) 

These documents contain:

  • Draft legislation (this also appeared in the C series of the Official Journal until 2001, but without the explanatory memorandum)
  • Policy documents, including Green and White papers.
  • Reports on the implementation of policy

References give the abbreviation COM followed by year and running number, eg COM(92) 23 final (Towards sustainability) Since 2003 they have only been published online, on Eur-Lex (as Preparatory acts). Earlier documents are shelved in the Law Library store and may be fetched on request. Annual and monthly indexes to documents are shelved alongside.

Some annual reports (eg Report on the monitoring of the application of Community law) which originally appeared as COM documents are shelved in a separate sequence in the European Documentation Collection on the ground floor.

Annual reports are a useful starting point for general or detailed research into the activities of the European Community. The General report on the activities of the European Communities gives an overview of policy development in all areas during a given year. Specialised reports on The agricultural situation in the Community, Competition policy, The European Regional Development Fund etc. are also shelved in this section.

The Bulletin of the European Communities (later Union) is a monthly report on Community activities (issued with several months delay). Its subject arrangement and detailed bibliographical references to official documents make it an essential research tool. It is no longer available in printed form and was replaced in 2010 by an EU news website.

Supplements to the Bulletin, which reprinted major official documents (such as Green and White papers) until 2000, are shelved alongside. Duplicate copies of these are catalogued separately as books or pamphlets and may be borrowed.The Bulletin and the General report are now available online on Europa. 

Other specialised periodicals published by the Commission are shelved in the Old Library store, particularly The Courier, which concerns EC development aid to the ACP (African, Caribbean, Pacific) countries. As many are available online check the catalogue for access. The series European economy is shelved in the European Documentation Collection on the ground floor.

The European Parliament 

The European Parliament, whose members are directly elected by EU citizens, has an important influence on Community legislation, budgets and policy. Questions and answers from the Parliament and minutes of the monthly proceedings are reported in the Information and Notices series of the Official Journal. Since 2003 this section has only been published in electronic versions.  The EDC has verbatim texts of the debates together with Working documents of the European Parliament. From 1986 to 1998 both series were issued on microfiche only; since then, texts are available online only. All current reports, agendas and lists of members are available on the Parliament's own web server, Europarl.

European Court of Justice 

The official reports of the European Court of Justice, generally cited as European Court reports (ECR), are published in all official languages. The Library has the English text, Reports of cases before the Court of Justice to date; these are shelved in the law reports section on the first floor of the Law Library. Curia, the Court of Justice website, has all publications of the Court, including reports. All reports are also available online on Eur-Lex.

Eurostat produces a wide range of statistical publications, both in serial and book form. Because of recent changes in distribution policy EDCs now only receive a small proportion of Eurostat's publications. Most publications can now be downloaded free, however, from the Eurostat website.

Basic statistics of the Community (on mobile shelving in the Law Library) is a small format yearbook giving basic statistics comparing Community countries. It ceased publication in 1996. 

Eurostat yearbook is a larger format collection of general statistics published since 1995. This title and other annual publications are shelved in the European Documentation Collection. Books issued in the series Panorama of the European Union are classified at KW 66. All serial and monograph titles are listed on the library catalogue. 

Statistics in Focus (formerly Rapid reports) provide current statistics on a selection of topics (eg. agriculture, energy, regions, etc.) often concentrating on specific subjects. They are now only issued online.

European access is a bibliographical guide to EU documentation. The Library has issues from 1985 to 2001, when it was absorbed by the online database, European Sources Online (see above). A selection of articles and contents pages from a wide range of sources is reprinted in the Biblio series, which ceased publication in 2001. These are shelved on mobile shelving in the Law Library.

The Commission Library issues comprehensive bibliographies of Publications and documents of the EC, Recent publications on the EC and Legal bibliography of European integration all of which list documents, books and articles on EC topics in a broad subject arrangement. This is no longer issued in printed form. The Commission Library catalogue is available online as the ECLAS database.

Bibliographies of the Council on ECLAS contains a collection of literature on the European Council, the Council of the European Union and the Council General Secretariat. They aim to provide a picture of how these institutions have been studied during the last 50 years.  

Books and pamphlets published by the European Commission are classified and shelved with other works on European law. Like the books in the main Law Library they are classified by the Moys law classification scheme, although their subject matter is often not strictly legal.

Works on the national law of European countries are at KV 60-4999

 European Union law and policy are classified at KW 1-149

All official websites of the European Union and its institutions and agencies are now part of the information portal EUROPA. Click on Topics of the European Union for links to information on major policy areas and on EU institutions and other bodies for links to all the EU's official bodies and agencies. Newsroomlinks to press releases and calendar of official meetings.

The European Commission site links to news items. Use the Departments (Directorates-General) and services list to access the separate web sites which have details of policy and publications. 
The UK Representation homepage has addresses of all official EU information sources in Britain as well as press releases and articles on current affairs.

The European Parliament's portal has full details of the EP's sessions and publications in all Community languages. These include the excellent encyclopedia Factsheets on the European Union which covers all aspects of EU policy and includes details of legal documents and EP involvement. The European Parliament UK Office has a useful website with general information about the EP and the European elections together with a list of UK MEPs by region.  

The Council of the European Union has its own web site with details of its role, activities, and publications.   

EU Whoiswho is the official directory of the European Union, searchable by name or by position. Access is free. Contact the European Union lists the e-mail contacts for the institutions. 

Countries on Europa has links to official government websites for all countries in the European Union and candidates for membership. 

Official documents

The Official documents portal on Europa gives details of the publications of all the European institutions together with links to online versions. It includes green and white papers since 1996.

The Publications Office (Office for Official Publications of the European Union) is responsible for all print and online publications, including Europa. The website includes the catalogue of official publications and links to all databases.

The EU Bookshop is a single access point to publications from the European Union institutions, agencies and other bodies, published since 1952. (12 million scanned pages and more than 110,000 publications). You can find publications through simple and advanced search functions, or browse by theme or by corporate author (i.e. European Union institution, agency, or other body). All documents can be downloaded free in PDF format. Print publications can be ordered online.

European Law 

Eur-Lex is the European Commission's free legal portal. It has the full text of EU secondary legislation; the treaties and other international agreements; the case-law of the Court of Justice; the full text of the Official Journal in all language versions (in PDF) since 1952 (in English since 1973). The full text of Commission documents, or Preparatory Acts, is also included. 

Curia, the Court of Justice web site, has weekly summaries and the full text of recent judgments and opinions, since June 1997. The Court's site also includes a comprehensive list of sources on national law. 

Legislative observatory(OEIL) is part of the European Parliament server and provides up to date information on the position of draft legislation in its progress through the European institutions.

Application of Community law is a Commission site giving information about infringements, implementation and state aids decisions. It also includes the text of the annual reports since 1998. 

Summaries of EU legislation (formerly SCADPlus) provide a useful guide to EU law and policy.  

Library Catalogues

ECLAS the catalogue of the European Commission Library is available online and is the best place to search for literature on Europe in all formats, including internet resources: access is free.

The European University Institute in Florence is a major centre for research on EU law and policy. Its catalogue is easy to use and the website contains a wide range of other useful material, including working papers.

The Historical Archives of the European Community are held by the European University Institute in Florence. The Historical Archives of the Commission, based in Brussels, have a separate database, ARCHISplus.

Working papers and articles 

The Archive of European integration an electronic repository and archive for research materials on the topic of European integration and unification, is based at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

European Research Papers Archive, is a searchable joint access point to 17 major series of online research papers.

Current affairs

Newsroom on the Europa server has daily press releases and details of meetings of all the European institutions. It includes the Press releases database (RAPID) which archives most official press releases since 1985. It is fully searchable.

EU Observer is an excellent sources of news headlines relating to the EU.

Business and Trade

Your Europe, your opportunity is a practical guide to doing business in Europe. This multilingual service on the Europa server is designed to provide general information on the internal market for citizens and business. 
Enterprise and Industry provides a single access point for small and medium-sized enterprises to find information on all aspects of EU policy relating to business. 

TED (Tenders Electronic Daily) is a free service from the European Commission providing a searchable database of calls for tender for public service contracts advertised in the Supplement to the Official Journal. 


CORDIS (Community Research and Development Information Service) is the essential source of information about the Community's research and innovation activities.

Euraxess (Researchers in Motion) is an EU portal for information about jobs in research around the world. It provides essential information about living and working in other countries.  If you are a researcher planning your next career move, this portal provides links to information on career and grant opportunities in science and technology in European countries.

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