EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life


A recommendation is a form of EU legal measure that does not have a direct effect and cannot be the basis for legal action. Article 288 TFEU stipulates: ‘Recommendations and opinions shall have no binding force’. However, in a case involving a dispute over occupational diseases, the European Court of Justice held that: ‘[Recommendations] cannot therefore be regarded as having no legal effect. The national courts are bound to take recommendations into consideration in order to decide disputes submitted to them, in particular where they cast light on the interpretation of national measures adopted in order to implement them or where they are designed to supplement binding Community provisions’ (Salvatore Grimaldi v. Fonds des Maladies Professionnelles, Case 322/88).

Examples of where this ruling can be applied in the social and employment field include Council Recommendation 84/635/EEC on the promotion of positive action for women, Commission Recommendation 92/131/EEC on the protection of the dignity of women and men at work, and Council Recommendation 92/24/EEC on childcare.

See also: direct effect; EU law; soft law.

Please note: the European industrial relations dictionary is updated annually. If errors are brought to our attention, we will try to correct them.
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