EurActiv - Letters to the Editor


The European Union (EU) is said to have been established by the Treaty on European Union signed in 1992.

However, taking advantage of your neutrality, I would like to question the EU’s existence based on the following considerations:

First, the Treaty on European Union (TEU) explicitly states that the EU “shall be founded on the European Communities” (Article A of the Treaty on European Union, renamed Article 1); however, the EU does not replace, substitute or succeed the existing European Communities.

A careful look into the TEU shows two most interesting facts: (i) the newly “established” union does not have legal personality, and (ii) it does not have any of its own institutions – despite the common misperception, the European institutions (e.g. European Commission, European Parliament, European Court of Justice, etc.) are in fact institutions serving the European Communities (clearly stated in the respective legal name of most of these, e.g. Commission of the European Communities, Court of Justice of the European Communities, etc.).

Further, the copyright holder for all official publications by the European institutions is no-one else but the European Community (or the European Communities) as clearly demonstrated by the copyright notice of official documents released by the European institutions.

Second, the Treaty of Lisbon is the first legal act to grant the EU a legal personality by amending the existing Treaty on European Union and Treaty Establishing the European Community and renaming the latter Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The amended Treaty on European Union for the first time reads that the EU “shall replace and succeed the European Community” (Article 1 of the Treaty on European Union as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon) and that it “shall have legal personality” (Article 47 of the Treaty on European Union as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon).

However, the Treaty of Lisbon is still not in force and, hence, its provisions have no legal power.

In view of the above, I would like to raise the question, does the European Union exist at all?

Svetoslav Apostolov

Author :


  1. You are correct. The institutions with legal personality are the European Communities. The legal personality arises from their supranational character. The other parts of the EU are intergovernmental in character. They also lack the democratic guarantees, real or still unapplied, of the Communities. Additional info can be found on and Legality and democracy should be the foundation of any democracy in Europe.

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