This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 320294



April 29, 2017

Written by
Sybe de Vries, Elena Ioriatti, Paolo Guarda, Elisabetta Pulice, and Flavio Guella
March 2017

Drawing on the research conducted during the project, this policy brief advances several key ideas as regards the reinforcement of economic rights of European Union citizens. As the cornerstone of the European Union’s Single Market, the four freedoms constitute a principal driving force behind the European economic integration process. Through the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the economic principles and commitments for the Member States enshrined in the Treaty provisions on free movement have been transformed into substantive economic rights for European Union citizens. A particularly broad interpretation of the Treaty rules on free movement of goods, persons, services, and capital set in motion a process of constitutionalization of the economic freedoms. Now, with the legally binding European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights containing several economic rights – such as the freedom to choose an occupation and the right to engage in work (Article 15), the freedom to conduct a business (Article 16), the right to property (Article 17), the right to non-discrimination (Article 21), and the freedom of movement and residence (Article 45) – the fundamental character of the four freedoms has been reinforced. It can after all be argued that the four freedoms are more specific elaborations of these Charter rights. Accordingly, within the area of the Single Market citizens have gained, at least in theory, far-reaching rights to develop themselves and to challenge various kinds of measures and practices that hinder them in doing so. However, notwithstanding these legal developments, legal and factual barriers to the exercise of European Union economic rights continue to exist.
This policy brief aims to show which potential scenarios can be envisaged to relieve and perhaps ultimately eliminate persistent barriers to the exercise of economic rights. At the same time, proposals are made for how economic rights for EU citizens can be further enhanced.


Download the policy brief here: POLICY BRIEF – WP5 De Vries & Ioriatti