Green paper

By means of a green paper the European Commission attempts to initiate a debate about possible future policies in a given area. Eventually, a green paper may serve as a basis for later legislative proposals.


Green paper in detail

Area of application

Green paper are meant to initiate a discussion. The Commission outlines the current state of affairs within a policy area or problem, and it will recommend possible future policies. The recommendations are general in nature. The Commission invites stakeholders and other interested parties to react and respond to the content of the green paper.

Any policy area where to EU has competence or where EU policies may be deemed relevant or appropiate can be the subject of a green paper.

The Commission may also issue white papersĀ i. These are used to initiate debate on more detailed and specific policies the Commission intends to put forward.

Adopting white papers

Green papers are drawn up by the European Commission.


Legal framework

Green papers as legal instrument are not mentioned in the Treaties. However, in the protocols of the Treaties the green paper is mentioned as a standard legal instrument.

  • reference: protocol 1 TfEU title I art. 1


Further information