The EU with its supranational powers is a unique institution. Contrary to other international organizations, it can make laws that are binding to its member governments as well as to their citizens and enterprises. However, reviewing the literature, we find little consensus as to its true role as a lawmaker. This article and the articles that follow in this symposium remedy this empirical deficiency. The present article presents a comprehensive analysis of the scope of binding EU regulation. The EU is presented as an important lawmaker. It has, with considerable effectiveness, been able to overcome recurrent crises that have often called its very viability into question. But the same analysis also reveals that the EU, in spite of several treaty reforms expanding its responsibilities into new policy areas, remains a predominantly economic regulator. Finally, EU lawmaking is to an increasing extent delegated to the European Commission, dedicated to the de facto task of maintaining the internal market. Although this article and the articles that follow it cover the present, and refer to the European Union (EU), the EU, since its creation in the 1950s, has changed its official name several times.