Frequently asked questions
1. Accessing documents
- 1.1.After a search, how can I view the text of a document in the results screen? Reply
- 1.2. Why can’t I access the complete text (including images, tables, graphics) of certain documents? Reply
- 1.3. I am unable to find a particular document. What can I do? Reply
- 1.4. Where can I obtain printed versions of the texts published on EUR-Lex? Reply
- 1.5. How can I access the consolidated legislation? Reply
- 1.6. I am unable to access the COM documents. Reply
- 1.7. I am looking for the documents of public interest previously available on EUR-Lex. Where can I find them? Reply
- 1.8. I am looking for a recent document, but I cannot find it in EUR-Lex. How often is the database updated? Reply
2. Site content
- 2.1. What documents can be found in EUR-Lex? Reply
- 2.2. How many documents are there in EUR-Lex? Reply
- 3.1. Are documents available in all the official languages of the European Union? Reply
- 3.2. I am looking for the legislative texts in the languages of the new Member States. Where can I find them? Reply
4. Site management
- 4.1. Where can I address my queries? Reply
- 4.2. Who manages the database? Reply
- 4.3. Is registration required in order to access the site? Reply
- 5.1. When will the document notification system be available? Reply
- 6.1. Will links created to the old EUR-Lex site and to CELEX be maintained? Reply
- 6.2. How should I create links to EUR-Lex? Reply
7. Advanced search
- 7.1. When will the advanced search facility (Expert 4) be installed? Reply
1. Accessing documents
1.1.After a search, how can I view the text of a document in the results screen?
There are two possibilities while the various document formats (PDF, html, TIFF, MS WORD, etc.) are still being uploaded into the system:
- clicking on the second option entitled ‘Bibliographic notice + text (bilingual display)’ will take you straight to the text.
- select the ‘Bibliographic notice’ option, then on the following screen check ‘Text’ and click on ‘Go’ to display the text. The text will appear at the bottom of the screen, so it is important to scroll down.
Both options arrive at the screen offering the choice of displaying the document simultaneously in two languages. This feature corresponds to the double visualisation html which you may have known in CELEX.
1.2. Why can’t I access the complete text (including images, tables, graphics) of certain documents?
EUR-Lex holds documents in several formats: doc, html, PDF, TIFF.
PDFs and TIFFs allow for the presentation of images, tables and graphics.
For technical reasons, information in the form of images, tables or graphics is not included in documents in html. From 1998, the Official Journal of the European Union and COM documents are also available in PDF, which include the complete text.
1.3. I am unable to find a particular document. What can I do?
EUR-Lex contains the legal texts of the EU institutions published in the Official Journal of the European Union and the European Court Reports , as well as certain collections of documents disseminated by the institutions.
Certain old texts published in the Official Journal are not in EUR-Lex.
If the document that you are looking for is not of a legal nature, please consult the institutions' own Registers which contain the references of the documents that they produce.
1.4. Where can I obtain printed versions of the texts published on EUR-Lex?
EU bookshop is an online bookshop giving access to publications from the EU institutions, agencies and other bodies. In addition to the online bookshop, this service will offer an online catalogue and archive of all EU publications. EU bookshop will allow users to search for EU publications, order them and, where possible, download copies.
1.5. How can I access the consolidated legislation?
Access to the consolidated legislation is either:
- via the ‘Simple search’ page. Simply select ‘consolidated text’ under the ‘search by document number’;
- via the Directory of Community legislation in force . Simply choose the ‘Legislation in force’ menu, then ‘Directory of Community legislation’ and select the area that you are interested in. If the original act has been consolidated, a link to the consolidated version is displayed. If the act has been the object of several amendments, the various consolidated versions are also available;
- direct access to the consolidated texts is also possible by using the CELEX number: in the ‘Simple search’ page choose ‘search by CELEX number’, type 0 (zero) + year (4 digits) + R (for regulation), L (for directive) or D (for decision), followed by the number of the act (4 digits).
For example, to obtain the consolidated version of Regulation No 1 of the Council of 1958, enter 01958R0001.
1.6. I am unable to access the COM documents
Access to the COM documents by chronological lists is not yet completely finalised in the new system.
If you cannot find a specific document,
- select the 'Preparatory acts' menu, then 'COM documents' and use the 'Direct access to documents' search box,
- or use 'Simple search' (search by natural number).
1.7. I am looking for the documents of public interest previously available on EUR-Lex. Where can I find them?
Documents of public interest are documents in which the European Commission expresses its point of view on a question of general interest for the European Community. These documents are published as COM documents. There are two ways of accessing them from the home page:
- select the 'Preparatory acts' collection, then click on 'COM documents';
- select 'Simple search', then 'Preparatory acts' category and limit your search to 'Commission communications'.
We plan to offer a specific 'Documents of public interest' collection in the future.
1.8. I am looking for a recent document, but I cannot find it in EUR-Lex. How often is the database updated?
EUR-Lex is updated daily.
The Official Journal is uploaded in PDF early the same morning as its publication on paper.
Contents are then processed for their individual inclusion in the database which involves detailed legal and bibliographic analysis. Even though individual documents can be loaded the very same day of publication accompanied with a limited number of analytical data (title, publication reference), the complete set of analytical data is loaded within three working days. This explains why there is a short time lapse between the appearance of the Official Journal itself and the subsequent availability of the individual acts for searching.
Other documents are also subject to variations in the frequency of their inclusion in the legal database due to their different sources.
2. Site content
2.1. What documents can be found in EUR-Lex?
The database covers texts published in the Official Journal of the European Union L (Legislation) and C (Information and notices), including legislation, international agreements, preparatory acts and parliamentary questions.
Under case-law one can find the judgments of the European Court of Justice and of the Court of First Instance, as well as the opinions of the Advocates-General, as published in the European Court Reports and as provisional texts disseminated earlier by the Court of Justice. Also available are the Commission documents (the COM series and a selection of the SEC series), the collection of consolidated legislative texts and the texts of the Treaties of the European Communities and later the European Union.
2.2. How many documents are there in EUR-Lex?
The database covers documents from the very beginning of the European cooperation, from the conclusion of the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951 and the European Economic Community and Euratom in 1957 onwards. It includes some 400000 references in several languages, 1400000 texts in total. An average of 15000 documents are added each year.
3.1. Are documents available in all the official languages of the Union?
The linguistic coverage is greater for the four official languages of the founding Member States, that is Dutch, French, German and Italian. For the other languages you will find translations of the legislation in force at the time of the accession of the country in question and the texts adopted after this date. Some of the texts, particularly the oldest, are therefore not available in the languages that were added during the later accessions: English and Danish; Greek; Spanish and Portuguese; Finnish and Swedish; and more recently Czech, Estonian, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Slovak and Slovene.
The Constitution and certain Treaties have also been published in Irish. These texts are available on the site in the 'Treaties' collection.
Provisional versions of legislative texts in Bulgarian and Romanian will progressively be uploaded in EUR-Lex during the coming months.
3.2. I am looking for the legislative texts in the languages of the new Member States. Where can I find them?
The site offers access to:
- the daily editions of the Official Journal of the European Union in the new languages since 1 May 2004;
- the volumes of the Special Edition of the Official Journal already published which contain the secondary law in force on 1 May 2004 in the nine new official languages;
- and the provisional versions of the texts not yet published in the Official Journal Special Edition.
On an exceptional and transitional basis, the institutions of the European Union are not bound by the obligation to draft all acts in Maltese and to publish them in that language in the Official Journal of the European Union . Until 1 May 2007, only regulations adopted jointly by the European Parliament and the Council have to be published in the Official Journal in Maltese.
4. Site management
4.1. Where can I address my queries?
See: Contact .
4.2. Who manages the database?
The database is managed by the Office for Official Publications of the European Communities which acts in the name of all the institutions. The institutions participate regularly in the developments of the database through different committees and working parties. A working party of the Council, to which also delegates of the Member States take part, is regularly informed about the management and the developments of the database.
4.3. Is registration required in order to access the site?
Access to the site is entirely free of charge.
We are currently developing a system that will allow users to personalise their profile and benefit from certain special services. At that time users will need to register, but access to the site will remain free.
5.1. What is LexAlert?
This is the document notification system. Its opening will be announced in the Newsletter .
6.1. Will links created to the old EUR-Lex site and to CELEX be maintained?
Links established according to the rules specified in the old EUR-Lex ( http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/information/help/help-link.html ) and in CELEX ( http://europa.eu/celex/htm/doc/en/linktocelex_en.htm ) will be automatically redirected to the corresponding pages or documents in the new EUR-Lex site.
We cannot, however, guarantee the automatic redirection of links created to issues of the Official Journal or to specific acts by means of the URLs of the files.
6.2. How should I create links to EUR-Lex?
Precise instructions for establishing links to the site are given in the help page How to create links to documents on EUR-Lex .
7. Advanced search
7.1. When will the advanced search facility (Expert 4) be installed?
We hope to be able to open this service in early 2006.