Structure of EUROPA
The EUROPA family contains a large number of sites, ranging from the top level inter-institutional EUROPA site, the first entry point for the general public, to specialised sites giving information to a very specific population. This chapter gives an overview of the sites that are part of the EUROPA family. It shows which sites are constructed following the rules of this Information Providers Guide.
Strictly speaking, EUROPA only refers to the top level institution-independent site http://europa.eu. However, as explained in the previous section, the term EUROPA is often used to refer to all sites managed by the Commission. These include the general public sites with URLs of type xxx.europa.eu and the Commission site http://ec.europa.eu. The Inventory of EUROPA websites offers comprehensive list with detalied information for each website: the URL, the domain, the webmaster, the DG, the type of site, its audience, the theme or topic, the statistics, the technology, the number of pages, etc.
The top level pages of EUROPA are usually the first point of contact a citizen will have with the EU websites. The site user does not necessarily need to know the structure of the EU or who does what. The same holds for the other general public sites which are adressed with a specific name such as xxx.europa.eu because of their particular aim (the section Types of sites provides a detailed description of the sites that are part of the EUROPA family). On the other hand, the Commission pages concern only the European Commission and may require some more specialised knowledge.
The sites of all EU institutions (European Parliament, European Commission, Council, etc.) are part of the EUROPA family and can be accessed through the main EUROPA site, serving as the gateway to these institutions. The appartainance to the family is shown by the URL of the institutional sites which has the form http://institution.europa.eu, such as for example http://europarl.europa.eu.
This guide describes the rules to which sites managed by the Commission have to comply.