Access to Europe's law and
Laws and politics vary significantly from one country to another.
Europe's pursuit of integration means administrations and individuals will need to know
more about these variations. This could lead to greater public accountability and more
enlightened citizens - the long-term goal of every civil society.
The project ELVIL is encouraging a European public sphere based on constitutional
principles, citizenship rights and the accountability of public representatives. To that
end it has built a World Wide Web based entry point to European law and politics. Its
users can easily access primary and secondary sources on law and politics throughout the
continent. A special thesaurus also offers multilingual support.
A significant feature is the European Civic Network centre. A co-operative initiative
led by participating academic institutions, ECN operates computers and database gateways.
It also supplies software support packages and related partner and membership programmes,
promoting wider usage of the system. Further target groups include database providers,
scholars and civil society organisations. The prototype's modular structure will
facilitate database updating plus the addition of new educational modules and user
Open standards and accountability underpin the system. Its search interface uses
artificial intelligence techniques, while special gateways allow concurrent and parallel
searching in multiple databases, web-indexes and web-servers. Currently available
databases include those of the Swedish and UK parliaments, as well as the European
The ELVIL stand demonstrates the Internet application, spotlighting the Encyclopaedia
on law and politics in Europe, the index for News & Research on law and politics in
Europe, and the civil society support module for the European Civic Network.