a legislative Act of the European Union produced by the Council of the European Union and the Commission of the European Union. It directs member states to produce a certain effect within a certain time. This achieves the Community goal while respecting national differences. The member state need not legislate if it can achieve the same result by administrative measures. Failure to comply can result in action before the Court of Justice of the European Union at the instigation of the Commission. Directives are not directly applicable (see DIRECT APPLICABILITY) but they can have DIRECT EFFECT.