This chapter explains the basic notions that will be used in the book, how they have emerged and what they mean; ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ law, ‘legislative’ and ‘non-legislative’ acts, ‘delegated’ and ‘implementing’ acts, ‘delegation of powers’, ‘essential elements’ and ‘implementation’. The tone is neutral, careful not to reduce the complexity or interfere with the qualified assessments of all different authors. Focus is set on the development over time and the institutional context in which that development has taken place. An important ambition is to identify the legal sources which have been central for the development and also the sources which are today fundamental for the new system of delegation of powers. In addition to that statistics are presented on EU regulatory activity, which are central for all chapters of the book. Finally, the aim of the book is formulated and some important delimitations explained.
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