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Key EU terms: I

22 February 2010
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 24 February 2010

A list of key EU legal terminology: I


Identity card

Official identification required by many EU States. EU citizens need a valid passport or identity card to enter another EU Member State, but no other formalities are required.


Intergovernmental Conference: negotiations between Member States' governments with a view to amending the Treaties.

Illegal funds

Assets obtained as a result of criminal activity, often disguised through money laundering activities.

Illegal trade

The trade in unauthorised copies or quantities of merchandise, otherwise known as the black market. EU customs authorities cooperate to prevent such illegal trade across EU borders.

Illegal trafficking

The unlawful movement of drugs, people, pornography, paedophile material, or black market goods. EU customs authorities cooperate to prevent illegal trafficking in the EU.

Illicit crops

Plants cultivated for the manufacture of illegal narcotics, such as poppy seeds for heroin. The EU cooperates with countries in which illicit crops are grown to destroy the crops and promote alternate livelihoods for farmers.

Illicit goods

Items that are trafficked and sold without legal authorisation or in illegal quantities. National customs authorities share information and coordinate to prevent the smuggling of such goods.

Illicit traffic

The transport of illegal narcotics for sale in a foreign country, often organised by criminal networks.


An example of a situation in which an EU citizen could seek the consular protection of any EU Member State, if the citizen finds him or herself in a country outside the EU in which his or her own country is not represented.

Immigration checks

The formalities imposed at national borders to ensure that people entering a country have legal authority to do so. With the lifting of border checks within the EU, immigration checks have shifted to the Union's borders with countries outside the EU.

Immigration policy

Laws and procedures designed to deal with people wishing to enter a particular jurisdiction. The Amsterdam Treaty, which came into force on 1 May 1999, provides the legal basis for a common European Union immigration policy.


International Narcotics Control Board: established in 1968 to analyse and evaluate the legitimate demand for narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, and drugs precursors; it is the independent and quasi-judicial control body for the implementation of the United Nations drug conventions.


Charges brought for crimes committed. Common definitions, incriminations and sanctions are being established in the EU to deal with financial crime.

Individual rights

An aim of judicial cooperation between the Member States of the EU is that individual citizens have their rights guaranteed, no matter which State they move to or live in.


To enable cooperation between national judiciaries, the EU has laid down rules for the efficient, swift and appropriate exchange of judicial and extra-judicial documents.


Violations of national laws. Customs authorities will be able, under the Convention on Mutual Assistance and Cooperation between Customs Administrations in Member States, to work in close coordination to counter infringements such as illegal drug smuggling.


Inability to pay debts. A 2000 EU regulation is aimed at governing the liquidation of an insolvent debtor's assets, and preventing debtors from moving assets to another State to avoid payment.

Integration policy

The EU have called for creation of a policy to give people in the EU who are from countries outside the Union rights and obligations comparable to those of the EU citizen.

Intellectual property

Creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce; examples of ways such property is protected are patents, trademarks, and copyright.


Indicates a method of decision-making involving the governments or Heads of State of EU countries, rather than the EU institutions.

Internal border controls

Checks imposed by a State at its borders have been removed from the borders between EU Member States who are part of the Schengen area. Member States can exercise controls under certain circumstances.

Internal border

EU Member States' borders with other EU States: common land frontiers, including the road or rail terminals, airports for intra-EU flights and seaports for intra-EU sea crossings. The area of freedom security and justice removes controls at internal borders, allowing free movement of people and goods.

International crime

Combating international crime is a priority in the external dimension of justice and home affairs. Particular emphasis is placed on financial crime, corruption, money laundering and the traffic in human beings.

International Peacekeeping Force

A force under development by the EU, to be composed of civilian personnel and to participate in managing crisis situations and conflict prevention in countries neighbouring external EU borders.


As part of the Commission's efforts to improve access to justice for victims of crime throughout the EU, citizens are entitled to facilities for the interpretation of information into their own language.


EU cooperation enables law enforcement authorities carrying out criminal investigations to request the help of authorities in another Member State when necessary.


An asset that is placed in an enterprise with the expectation of profit. Not all investment undertakings are covered by the 2000 regulation on the liquidation of an insolvent debtor's assets.

Source: European Commission - Justice and Home Affairs

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