European Legislation Identifier (ELI)

Council conclusions inviting the introduction of the European Legislation Identifier (ELI)

Legislation is widely available online and accessible in various digital formats. However, the way in which legal information is organised and classified varies across different legal systems. The conclusions address this issue by endorsing the European Legislation Identifier (ELI), an initiative to ensure that citizens and legal professionals get improved access to information on legislation, be it at regional, national or EU level.

ELI makes it easier to access and share this information, thus contributing to the EU’s common area of freedom, security and justice.


The conclusions invite EU countries to adopt the ELI system, so that information on EU and national legislation is described in a harmonised way across legislation systems. This will improve discovery, access and reuse of information about legislation for citizens and professional users.

How does ELI work?

ELI is based on:

the use of a unique Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) to identify a web location for legal information;
a set of structured metadata used to describe EU and national legal information;
the use of a common language to exchange legal information in machine-readable formats for better reuse*.

The ELI system was developed to standardise legal communication to promote interchange and to enhance interoperability between legal information systems at EU and national level, while maintaining the specificities of each country’s legal and legislative system.

What should EU countries do

The introduction of ELI is optional, voluntary and gradual. In order to adopt ELI, legislation publishers should:

assign ELI identifiers and metadata to their legislation;
publish the ELI metadata assigned to their legislation in a specific format.
ELI implementers are invited to appoint a national ELI coordinator and to share information on their respective ELI implementations. This information is to be made publicly available on the ELI website hosted in the EUR-Lex portal:

2017 Council conclusions

In November 2017, the Council adopted a new set of conclusions on the ELI building on the conclusions of 2012.

These conclusions provide a progress report on the ELI initiative:

the ELI system has been deployed in a number of national legislation publishing systems,
ELI has been applied to EU legislation which is published in the Official Journal of the European Union and the EUR-Lex portal operated by the Publications Office of the EU,
the Publications Office, acting in accordance with Decision 2009/496/EC, has integrated ELI into the EUR-Lex portal. The Publications Office hosts and maintains on its EUR-Lex portal a register of national ELI coordinators, information on the format and use of ELI in the participating countries, and other useful documentation.

The conclusions call on the Council working party on e-law, to take a series of measures aimed at driving forward the ELI system and in particular on:

the ELI Task Force (TF) to define ELI-related specifications and ensure their future development;
the expert group of the working party on e-Law on ELI to drive forward this initiative by:
allowing EU countries to share experiences and good practice on the deployment of ELI;
inform EU countries about the work of the ELI TF;
report to the working party on e-Law EU countries’ concerns and needs in the light of ELI;
report the content of the meetings to the working party on e-Law.
An annex contains the main elements of information and references:

on national implementation;
elements of ELI;
ELI reference sites.

For more information, see:

About ELI (Publications Office).

Reuse: the possibility for citizens and companies to reuse material free of charge, even for commercial purposes, and without having to request permission to do so. The information can be reproduced, adapted, translated, etc. This reuse may be subject to conditions. For example, the European Commission’s general reuse policy requires those who reuse information to acknowledge its source and to ensure that its original meaning is not distorted. There are, however, certain exceptions to the Commission’s general reuse policy such as logos, software, etc.



Council conclusions inviting the introduction of the European Legislation Identifier (ELI) (OJ C 325, 26.10.2012, pp. 3-11)


Council conclusions of 6 November 2017 on the European Legislation Identifier (OJ C 441, 22.12.2017, pp. 8-12)

Decision 2009/496/EC, Euratom of the European Parliament, the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice, the Court of Auditors, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 26 June 2009 on the organisation and operation of the Publications Office of the European Union (OJ L 168, 30.6.2009, pp. 41-47)

Successive amendments to Decision 2009/496/EC, Euratom have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


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