Treaties are legally binding agreements between countries on any given subject. Treaties are subject to international law.

This category of Treaties refers exclusively to treaties between the member states that define how the European Union is governed and how a division of competences between the member states and the EU is arranged.


Treaties in detail

Area of application

European treaties may contain elements that have direct application on member states as well as legal entities, most notably citizens of the member states. Treaties may also contain elements that are solely aimed at institutional matters (legal constellations, governing structures, division of competences, etc.).

The major treaties (Rome, Maastricht, Lisbon i.e.) cover a wide range of topics, potentially even redefining the structure and workings of the European Union. Several minor treaties have also been signed, mostly dealing with changes to administrative provisions. Interinstitutional agreementsĀ i are used for practical arrangements, managing day-to-day affairs and interpretating the treaties with regard to institutional affairs.

For each new member state joining the European Union a treaty of accession is signed.

Adopting treaties

The European Union has several procedures for amending the treatiesĀ i.

Note that there is a tendency to exclude treaties from the standard legal databases as used by the European Union.


Legal framework

Treaties are based on the Treaty on European Union (TEU).

  • instrument: TEU title I art. 1
  • procedure: TEU title VI art. 48


Further information