Soft law describes a body of rules of conduct that are not legally binding, “but nevertheless may have certain (indirect) legal effects, and that are aimed at and may produce practical effects”(Senden 2004, 112).

In the European Union (EU), instruments of soft law have existed ever since the beginning of the European integration process. With its deepening, and with the ever more frequent empowerment of EU institutions and newly created agencies, especially over the past three decades, also the importance of EU soft law has increased significantly. This development may be witnessed in EU banking and financial market policy (BFMP) as well.

Soft law in BFMP raises questions both in terms of EU law, and in terms of national law. These questions regard issues of the use and the value of soft law instruments both de jure and de facto; administrative, democratic and judicial accountability; and the varying forms of incorporation and application of these measures at the national level, whereby the national measures adopted also have to abide by the constraints set by the existing national legal framework.

  • Work package 1: EU perspective
  • Work package 2: National perspective
  • Work package 3: Multilevel perspective