Are the rules of European Union public policy a reality?
Professor Cornelia LEFTER
Over the years th ere have been a lot of d ebates at academic and do ctrinal level
regardi ng t he EU rules of public policy. Are these rules to be found in the Treaties or in
second ary legisl ation? Which EU legal rules shal l be co nsidered a s being rules of pub lic
poli cy? Which EU values are th ey pro tecting? These are so me of the questions that th e
present study tries to answer starting with the definitio n of EU pub lic p olicy ru les and
anal yzing then it s content an d its role withi n EU lega l system.
Keywords: European Union , admin istrative law , publ ic policy, EU law.
JEL Cla ssification: K23, K33
1. Preliminary conside rations
The most important argument used by the legislator in order to protect the
most important values of a given country is the “public policy and morals”.
The concept of “public policy” is very controversial and complex. Over
the yeas have been a lot of debates at the academic and doctrinal level regarding
the concept of “public policy”. Many of these debates are also focused on the
concept of “public policy” at the EU level, since there is no textual support in the
Communities Treaties or EU secondary legislation.
Usually, the authors underline the general directions, principles or values,
which are protected by the concept of “public policy”. But, w here can we find
these directions, principles or values? Are they listed and named as such?
No, the concept of “public policy” appears to be a flexible and
controversial notion, which is used as a defensive tool that protects the most basic
fundamentals of justice and morality of a given state.
Since, these basic principles change with the time, the contemporary
content of the “public policy” concept also changes in order to re flect the state’s
values and beliefs evolution. Apart from its relativeness in time, the “public policy”
concept is also relative in space, because it protects only those fundamentals of the
society that are adversely affected.
Moreover, it w as underlined that the “public policy” concept appears in
different forms and various contexts. It has different meanings depending on
circumstances in which it is invoked. In different areas of law, procedural or
Cornelia Lefter - Law Department, Bucharest U niversity of Economic Studies,