The Community acquis or acquis communautaire (/ˈækiː kəˈmjuːnətɛər/; French: [aˌki kɔmynoˈtɛːʁ]), sometimes called the EU acquis and often shortened to acquis, is the accumulated legislation, legal acts, and court decisions which constitute the body of European Union law. The term is French: acquis meaning "that which has been acquired or obtained", and communautaire meaning "of the community".
During the process of the enlargement of the European Union, the acquis was divided into 31 chapters for the purpose of negotiation between the EU and the candidate member states for the fifth enlargement (the ten that joined in 2004 plus Romania and Bulgaria which joined in 2007). These chapters were:
For the negotiations with Croatia (which joined in 2013), Iceland, Turkey, Montenegro, Serbia and in the future, with North Macedonia, Albania (candidate countries), the acquis is split up into 35 chapters instead, with the purpose of better balancing between the chapters: dividing the most difficult ones into separate chapters for easier negotiation, uniting some easier chapters, moving some policies between chapters, as well as renaming a few of them in the process:
Correspondence between chapters of the 5th and the 6th Enlargement:
Such negotiations usually involved agreeing transitional periods before new member states needed to implement the laws of the European Union fully and before they and their citizens acquired full rights under the acquis.
The term acquis is also used to describe laws adopted under the Schengen Agreement, prior to its integration into the European Union legal order by the Treaty of Amsterdam, in which case one speaks of the Schengen acquis.
The term acquis has been borrowed by the World Trade Organization Appellate Body, in the case Japan – Taxes on Alcoholic Beverages, to refer to the accumulation of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and WTO law ("acquis gattien"), though this usage is not well established.
It has also been applied to the body of "principles, norms and commitments" of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE):
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) introduced the concept of the OECD Acquis in its "Strategy for enlargement and outreach", May 2004.