Regulations are 'directly applicable' and have direct effect both vertically and horizontally.

Under Article 288 (TFEU) the European Union has the power to issue regulations which:

'...... have general application, are binding in their entirety and are directly applicable in all Member States. As ‘Union law’, regulations must be complied with fully by those to whom they apply (private persons, Member States, Union institutions). Regulations apply directly in all the Member States, without requiring a national act to transpose them. As soon as they enter into force (on the date stipulated or, failing this, on the twentieth day following their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union), they become part of national legal orders. Regulations serve to ensure the uniform application of Union law in all the Member States. At the same time, they prevent the application of national legal rules which are incompatible with their substantive clauses'.

These regulations do not have to be adopted in any way by the individual states as Article 288 makes it clear that they automatically become law in each member country.

This is known as 'direct applicality' and was tested in Tachographs: Commission of the European Communities v United Kingdom (1979).

Regulations make sure that laws are uniform across all Member States, individual States can not choose which ones to implement.

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