Frequently asked questions
The ECB section on EUR-Lex is the main point of entry for all ECB legal acts, and is accessible through the direct links on the ECB website and the ECB banking supervision website as well as through the Browse by EU institutions tab on the EUR-Lex website. You can also find ECB legal acts using the standard search functions of EUR-Lex.
All ECB legal acts published since 1998 and all European Monetary Institute legal acts published between 1994 and 1997 are available in the database, including all EU and national opinions and letters related to the ECB’s advisory function, Memoranda of Understanding, agreements, and all other ECB legal documents. In addition, the database contains all case law relevant to the ECB.
The landing page of the ECB section on EUR-Lex presents the following:
- a “Browse by topic” function
- three different types of search function, specifically "Quick search in ECB documents", "Advanced search", and "Find a document" and "Find a court case"
- a "Visual navigation" function which provides statistics on ECB legal acts and direct access to pre-defined compilations
- a "Recently published" function which provides an overview of the most recently published ECB legal acts
- a "Banking supervision" portal which gives access to all ECB legal acts and case law in the field of banking supervision
Browse by topic
All ECB legal acts are classified according to topics and are available through the browse by topic tree. To find all acts related to a specific subject, you just need to select a topic and then narrow down your search by choosing the relevant subtopic. Clicking the plus sign expands the main topic into subtopics, and clicking the magnifying glass next to a topic runs a search for all legal acts classified under that topic.
In the browse by topic tree, click on "Monetary policy Operations" and then on "Monetary policy instruments." This will show the subtopics, among them the "General framework". When clicking on the magnifying glass next to "General framework", you will see a list of all ECB legal acts adopted within this subtopic which you may then further refine as needed.
Quick search in ECB documents
The “Quick search in ECB documents” function is designed particularly for keyword searches and restricts search results to documents in the ECB subdomain – as opposed to the general EUR-Lex quick search which searches in the entire EUR-Lex domain. The results from this ECB quick search include all types of ECB documents, including documents in court cases relevant to the ECB. A benefit of the quick search is that it also looks in document metadata, giving you a more comprehensive search result.
Go to the "Quick search in ECB documents" and type in the name of the country concerned. In the results list, you can refine your query by choosing "Opinion on draft national legislation" under "By type of act".
Just like “Quick search in ECB documents”, the “Advanced search” function restricts search results to documents in the ECB subdomain in EUR-Lex. However, the advanced search gives you more options to refine the search according to your preferences, e.g. date, document type and author, and also allows you to combine different options. As opposed to the quick search, a text search within the advanced search function does not look in document metadata.
Go to “Advanced search”. In “Document reference – Type”, click on “+” and only select those types of legal acts you wish to see. If you are looking for binding legal acts, select: regulation, both types of decisions (DEC and DEC_ENTSCHEID), and guideline.
Find a document
The “Find a document” function allows you to quickly locate a specific legal act by typing in the document number. The search results are restricted to ECB legal acts and instruments, letters related to the consultation duty, memoranda of understanding and agreements, as opposed to the quick and advanced search options which search in all types of ECB documents (including documents in court cases relevant to the ECB).
Here, you can also search for legal acts adopted in a certain year, for a certain type of legal act, or using a combination of those criteria (such as all ECB guidelines adopted in 2019).
Using the “Find a document” box, select "Opinion" from the drop down menu containing the different types of ECB legal act. In the left-hand pane on the results page, refine the query by clicking "Opinion" under “By type of act”. This will exclude opinions on draft national legislation as well as related corrigenda.
Find a court case
The “Find a court case” function allows you to quickly locate a specific court-related document by typing in the number of the court case. The search results are restricted to documents in court cases relevant to the ECB, as opposed to the quick and advanced search options which search in all types of ECB documents. You can find judgments and orders in court cases relevant to the ECB. These include all court cases where the ECB is a party, as well as other court cases which are either classified under “Economic and monetary policy” in the EUR-Lex Directory of case-law or which cite certain legal acts relevant to the ECB’s banking supervision tasks.
You can also search for all court cases from a particular year or, by leaving all fields blank and pressing the magnifying glass, all court cases relevant to the ECB.
Clicking on the “Visual navigation” tab in the left-hand side menu or any of the graphs displayed on the landing page takes you to the visual navigation subpage. There you can learn more about ECB legal acts by viewing statistics by year, subject and type of act. When clicking on a bar in one of the graphs, you will find a compilation of all the legal acts underlying that bar. Only base legal acts (excluding amendments or corrigenda) are presented in such compilations.
The ECB legal acts most recently published on EUR-Lex appear in the “Recently published” view. For a full overview of all ECB legal acts published on EUR-Lex, use “Quick search in ECB documents” without anything in the search field and then click "sort by document date” to get the most recent result at the top.
Yes, the “Recently published” function in the ECB section only displays legal acts published by the ECB, excluding any documents related to court cases.
Effective search for ECB documents in EUR-Lex
When viewing any document on EUR-Lex, the document information tab is available on the left hand side. Clicking it opens the document information page where you will see all information and metadata relating to the document, including relevant dates, classifications and related documents such as amendments and consolidated versions.
The difference is in the subdomains and the input the search functionalities are designed to handle. The quick search in ECB documents is designed for keyword searches and looks in the entire ECB domain. The advanced search function also looks in the ECB domain but provides more opportunities to refine the search: for instance by limiting your search to only legal acts in force or excluding the corrigenda. The specific search boxes (Find a document, Find a court case) are designed for pinpoint searches and look within the ECB domain for only legal acts and court cases, respectively.
In the results list, go to the relevant base legal acts (not amendments or corrigenda) and click on the date next to “Current consolidated version". By clicking on "Show all versions" you will find all consolidated versions that have been produced, incorporating previous amendments.
Consolidated versions are produced with a certain delay, so it may be that a consolidated version which incorporates the most recent amendments has not yet been produced.
Run a “Find a document” search using the reference number of the legal act. In the search results list, open the relevant legal act and then click on "Document information" on the left hand side of the document view. There you will be able to view all information about amendments to the act.
A list of all amending legal acts with active links can also be found on the first page of the “Current consolidated version”.
No, currently it is not possible to run a text search in the PDF documents in EUR-Lex.
Yes, for the EU opinions where such technical working documents exist, you can access them by clicking on the English DOC version under “Languages, formats and link to OJ”.
The search only shows results in the language of the search.
No, all legal acts on EUR-Lex are accessible to all users whether they have a user account or not. Therefore, creating a EUR-Lex account does not give you access to more information, but rather gives you access to more advanced functionalities (e.g. saving your search). Please see the Registration page for further information about creating an account on EUR-Lex.
Additional information on EUR-Lex
If you would like to learn more about EUR-Lex in general, please take a look at the following resources:
If you have any questions relating to the ECB legal acts as presented in the ECB section on EUR-Lex, please contact the ECB via DG-LKMT@ecb.europa.eu.