Recommendations are non-binding acts by which the European Union means to achieve certain ends without imposing a mandatory legal framework. Recommendations may relate to both policies of the EU as well as individual member states.


Recommendation in detail

Area of application

Even though a recommendation does not constitute a binding act whomever is subject of a recommendation is expected to oblige the suggestions made. The authority of the EU and the political significance of recommendations should ensure a voluntary follow-up to its recommendations.

Recommendation have power in the sense that they often create precedents and set certain standards. As such it serves as a indication to future, formally binding legislation. Also, by setting voluntary goals for the EU or its member states certain expectations are raised.

Recommendations often deal with specific details of a certain subject. In policy areas the EU has fewer competences recommendations tend to be general in nature.

Recommendations are more demanding then advices i. Recommendations should not be confused with guidelines i, which are used for establishing a non-binding general framework in certain policy areas. In employment policies recommendations are made within the framework laid down by guidelines.

Recommendations may be used in any policy area. In pratice, they are not used in matters concerning the common foreign and security policy.

Adopting recommendations

Recommendations are adopted by any of the decision-making procedures of the European Union i.

Exception: recommendations by the Commission

The European Commission may adopt recommendations calling on the Council of Ministers to make a decision on highly technical or practical affairs or to authorise the Commission to conduct negotiations on international agreements.


Legal framework

The recommendation is based on the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union (TfEU).

  • instrument: part six TfEU title I chapter 2 section 1 art. 288
  • authorisation for international agreements: part five TfEU title II art. 207, part five TfEU title V art. 218


Further information