European integration law studies the laws enacted by the European Union. The EU is an economic and political union of member states collaborating more and more closely in the fields of economy, foreign policy as well as regarding issues concerning police work and courts of law. The collaboration has been strongest in the economic area where, since the 1950s, the Member States have been trying to integrate their national markets in order to establish one common market. This part of collaboration is supra-national, and laws adopted by the Union constitute an integral part of each member state’s internal legal system.

The aim of the common market is to ensure free movement of goods, workers, services and capital throughout the Union. This means that national rules constituting an obstacle to international commerce within Europe shall be abolished, and that the Union shall pursue a common trading policy in relation to non-European countries. The above-said means that undertakings and employees of the Member States shall be able to offer their goods, services or labour throughout the whole territory of the Union in the same way this is done in their own countries. In order to achieve these aims some fundamental rules concerning freedom of movement have been stipulated in the Treaty Establishing the European Economic Community (Articles 28, 39, 43, 49 and 56). In addition, various other common legislative documents have been adopted, regulating conditions of trading. The fundamental principle on which the Community law is based is the principle of non-discrimination, which means that goods, services and workers shall be treated alike irrespective of the Member State from which they come. In so far as the Union has not adopted common trading rules, individual undertakings and workers may directly invoke their right to establishment in another Member State pursuant to the Treaty. Since the European Market has not been wholly integrated yet, there are still differences between the Member States regarding issues concerning, for example, policies on alcoholic beverages, consumer protection and protection of the environment. Each Member State has here a certain scope for unilateral rules to protect such interests, and may therefore ban goods and services coming from another Member State. Free movement of capital is regulated within the framework of the European Monetary Union and the common currency euro. Sweden participates in the EMU work, but the popular referendum held in September 2003 has resulted in the rejection of the euro as a currency in Sweden for the time being. In addition to rules concerning freedom of movement the EU has also harmonised the laws concerning competition, agriculture and transport within the framework of the Common Market.

As can be seen, the EU has the authority to pass laws which are binding on both the Member States and the individual nationals of those states. The Union has gained this authority by means of the Member States having ceded various spheres of their sovereignty to the Union. The European Union is composed of five central institutions: the European Council, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Auditors. The legislative organ of the EU is the European Council which represents the Member States, and the European Parliament which represents the citizens of the EU. In a growing number of areas the EU may adopt legislation by means of qualified (two-thirds) majority, which means that individual Member States cannot stop the adoption of such legislation. The Commission also plays an important role in the legislative process, being the only organ that may submit proposals for new laws. The general function of the Commission is to safeguard the EU’s interests, and its overall role is therefore supervisory.

The European Court interprets and implements the treaties, conventions and secondary legislation. The largest part of the Community law is implemented and administered by the Member States, and the issues concerning Community law are therefore often tried in the Member States’ courts of law. The national courts must request a preliminary ruling from the European Court if there are any ambiguities regarding the implementation. In order to ensure effective and uniform implementation of the Community law the European Court has developed by means of these preliminary rulings a number of principles stipulating the consequences of the Community law for the Member States. These include the principles of direct effect and priority. The member states, including their authorities and courts of law, must apply the Community law loyally, ensuring that the legislation has the intended effect on the internal legal system of the Member States.

In the Spring of 2004 ten new Member States will join the EU, which will then consist of twenty-five Member States. At the same time work is in full swing with the reformation and integration of the existing treaties and conventions into a new European Constitution. It can therefore be safely said that Community law will continue to be a dynamic and expansive system of laws.