Why do Commission Regulations all have "(EC) No" before the number. If, for example, people wrote "Commission Regulation 1483/2004" instead of "Commission Regulation (EC) No 1483/2004", would anyone be confused? Would any harm be caused? All over Europe -- no, all over the world -- people are having to type apparently superfluous letters. Then, when they print them out, tons of ink and cartridge powder are wasted on printing them out again. An even bigger waste of ink is the use of the title "Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs)", when "Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market" would do just as well. Think how many typists are paid to key in these extra words every time they appear.

The IPKat wonders whether the superfluous "(EC) No" and "(Trade Marks and Designs)" are symptoms of a desire to make things look more important than they are. Readers' comments are welcome.
… AND A BEEF FROM THE IPKAT … AND A BEEF FROM THE IPKAT Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, August 27, 2004 Rating: 5


  1. 1) Isn't it to differentiate the legislation from that of other European bodies such as the Coal and Steel Community.
    2) I think you're overreacting a bit. It's not that much ink I don't think, especially since most people just abbreviate these things anyway. Besides, just think how much ink is wasted in everyday language by those who aren't as pedantic about grammar as your good self.

  2. Hm.
    * The Coal and Steel Communities are a blast from the past. I'm writing about the present!
    * On the subject of ink, perhaps someone could estimate the amount that's been expended in vain, if you multiply out (i) all the EC documents in which "(EC) No" has been unnecessarily used by (ii) the number of official copies made or circulated by the Commission and its organs; then add (iii) all the non-EC documents in which "(EC) No" has been unnecessarily used by (ii) the number of copies made or circulated by the publishers of such documents. The "(EC) No" tag must have been reproduced many billions of times by now. Also, each time it's used, it makes documents longer and thus consumes more paper.
    * Pedantry? This fine word is generally used by a less literate person as an epithet that designates a more literate one. I thank you for using it.

  3. I believe that the reason EU legislation has (EC) in front of the number is because legislation is passed under different parts of the treaties or different treaties. The prefix EC indicates which treaty the legislation is based on (all EU legislation must be based on a specific Article in one of the Treaties). So sometimes it is EEC (the treaty that set up the European Economic Community) and sometimes it is (EC) which indicates it is one of the later treaties. If and when we have the Constitution all this will stop and they will in fact ditch the word Directive, Regulation etc. in favour of "European Law".

  4. Yes of course the Kat is right, it is just to make it sound more important than it really is; that is the whole point of the EU.


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