The Official Journal of the European Union (the OJ) is the official gazette of record for the European Union (EU). It is published every working day in all of the official languages of the member states. Only legal acts published in the Official Journal are binding.
It was first published on 30 December 1952 as the Official Journal of the European Coal and Steel Community. This was renamed Official Journal of the European Communities with the establishment of the European Community before taking its current title when the Treaty of Nice entered into force on 1 February 2003. Since 1998 the Journal has been available online via the EUR-Lex service.
As of the 1st of July 2013, the electronic version of the Official Journal bears legal value instead of the paper version. Each issue is published as a set of documents in PDF/A format (one per official language) plus one XML document ensuring the overall coherency through hashes and a qualified electronic signature (a kind of digital signature defined in European law) extended with a trusted time stamp.
The Journal comprises two series:
There is also a supplementary S series which contains invitations to tender, and other documents relating to the EU Procurement Directives (see: Government procurement in the European Union). The S Series is also the only series that is not issued in every working language of the Union. Each contracting authority issues notices in the language of its choice.