2 The drafting of Community acts shall be appropriate to the type of act concerned and, in particular, to whether or not it is binding (regulation, directive, decision, recommendation or other act).
The various acts each have their own standard presentation and standard formulas (see Guideline 15). They are set out in detail in the Commission’s Manual on Legislative Drafting, in the Council’s Manual of Precedents and in LegisWrite.
The drafting style should take account of the type of act.
Since regulations have direct application and are binding in their entirety, their provisions should be drafted in such a way that the addressees have no doubts as to the rights and obligations resulting from them: references to intermediary national authorities should therefore be avoided, except where the act provides for complementary action by the Member States.
Directives (with some exceptions, in particular under the Euratom Treaty) are addressed to the Member States.
Furthermore, they should be drafted in a less detailed manner in order to leave Member States sufficient discretion in their implementation. If the enacting terms are too detailed and do not leave such discretion, the appropriate instrument will be a regulation, rather than a directive.
Decisions should be drafted to take account of their addressees, but still essentially comply with the formal rules of presentation of acts of general application.
The language of recommendations must take account of the fact that their provisions are not mandatory.
The manner in which an act is drafted should also take account of whether or not the act is binding.
The choice of verb and tense varies between different types of act and the different languages, and also between the recitals and the enacting terms (see Guidelines 10 and 12).
In the enacting terms of binding acts, French uses the present tense, whilst English generally uses the auxiliary ‘shall’. In both languages, the use of the future tense should be avoided wherever possible.
By contrast, in non-binding acts (such as recommendations and resolutions) (see Guideline 7), imperative forms must not be used, nor structures or presentation too close to those of binding acts.