The European Union has developed over the past four decades from the European Steel and Coal Community to the current supranational organization through the adoption and ratification of treaties.
Europa contains copies of the constitutive treaties. The text of the treaties are usually published in the Official Journal of the European Union, the principal legal publication of the EU. Other treaty series and commercial publications are also sources for the text of treaties.
The founding treaties are frequently referred to as "primary legislation." In contrast, "secondary legislation" refers to directives, regulations and other forms of law described in the legislation section of this guide.
Following is a list of the founding treaties and their citations that provide the legal basis for the EU:
A consolidated version of the treaties incorporating the changes through the Treaty of Lisbon is available in the Official Journal:
The Treaty of Amsterdam renumbered the articles of the founding treaties. Citations to specific articles of the founding treaties prior to the ratification of the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997 will be to the old numbering scheme of the treaty articles. A table of equivalences showing the correspondence between the old and new numbering scheme was published in the Official Journal on October 11, 1997 at O.J. 1997 C340/85. The table of equivalences is also available online as an appendix to The ABC of Community Law
The EU has grown since its founding by admitting additional nations. New members of the EU must sign and ratify an accession treaty in order to join the EU. The accession treaties and their Official Journal citations can be found here.