Governance through EU guidance: towards a ‘principled approach’

In the European Union, governance through guidance is on the rise. With the issuing of non-legally binding guidance documents, the European Commission assists Member States in the implementation of EU law.
The question of how the legitimacy and effectiveness of EU informal governance should be guaranteed is highly topical. In the literature, there is an increased call for proceduralization of the issuing and use of Commission guidance. From a formal legal perspective, this can be applauded, yet it can also be detrimental to the features of informality that make EU guidance a flexible and effective governance tool.
Seeking to find the right balance between informality and legality, this contribution explores how the legitimacy of governance through guidance can be best guaranteed. It will argue that a more principled approach is needed in order to enhance the legitimacy ánd effectiveness of governance through EU guidance.