A decision is legally binding act in its entirety. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, a decision is binding for the EU as a whole. Decisions can address specific legal entities, in which case a decision is binding only to them. In its current form the decision was introduced with the Lisbon Treaty that came into force December 2009. It replaces various legal instruments introduced by earlier Treaties.


Decision in detail

Area of application

Decisions are directly applicable and do not need to be transposed into national legislation. With the Lisbon Treaty decisions no longer need to address specific legal entities.

Legal entities that are directly affected by a decision may make a direct appeal to decisions in a court of law in relation to both a state as other legal entities.

Decisions are most often used for specific measures, and rarely to set policy.

Adopting decisions

Decisions can be adopted through a number of decision-making procedures used in the European Union. A decision can stipulate that some more detailed measures are to be adopted later. There are strict rules and limitations as to what parts of a decision may be adopted later. Note that due to the nature of decisions this is very rare.


Legal framework

The directive is based on the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union (TfEU).

  • instrument: part six TfEU title 1 chapter 2 section 1 art. 288
  • procedure to adopt: part six TfEU title 1 chapter 2 section 1 art. 289 (general), TEU title V art. 21-46 (common foreign and security policy area), part five TfEU art. 205-222 (international agreements)


Further information