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A regulation is a legal act of the "European Union that becomes immediately enforceable as law in all member states simultaneously. Regulations can be distinguished from "directives which, at least in principle, need to be "transposed into national law. Regulations can be adopted by means of a variety of "legislative procedures depending on their subject matter.
The description of regulations can be found in Article 288 of the "Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (formerly Article 249 "TEC).
The Council can delegate legislative authority to the Commission and, depending on the area and the appropriate legislative procedure, both institutions can make laws. There are Council regulations and Commission regulations. Article 288 does not clearly distinguish between legislative acts and administrative acts, as is normally done in national legal systems.
Regulations are in some sense equivalent to ""Acts of Parliament", in the sense that what they say is law and they do not need to be mediated into national law by means of implementing measures. As such, regulations constitute one of the most powerful forms of "European Union law and a great deal of care is required in their drafting and formulation.
When a regulation comes into force, it overrides all national laws dealing with the same subject matter and subsequent national legislation must be consistent with and made in the light of the regulation. While member states are prohibited from obscuring the "direct effect of regulations, it is common practice to pass legislation dealing with consequential matters arising from the coming into force of a regulation.
The Union has two primary types of legislative acts, directives and regulations
Both the Council of Ministers and the Commission are empowered under the EC Treaty to make laws.