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


WP5 Economic Rights

The EEC Treaty, although extending to all economic sectors, confined the free movement of persons to individuals participating in the common market. The establishment of the common market – and later, when  the  Single  European  Act came  into  force,  the internal  market  – played  a central  role  in the attainment of the E(E)C Treaty’s objectives. The free movement of persons and services, together with the  other  freedoms  (goods  and  capital),  constituted  the  backbone  of  the  European  Community  and continues to do so for the European Union. That the original substantive provisions of the Treaty of Rome did not provide for a general right to free movement for all persons and companies resulted from the requirements  that the individual  or company  should  be a national  of a Member  State and should  be engaged  in  an  economic  activity  as  a  worker,  self-employed  person,  service  provider  or  service recipient.

Economic rights also include the rights of consumers as purchasers of goods and services. As consumers play a vital role in the market place, consumer policy gradually became more important alongside internal market policy. Consumer rights not only entail that consumers have a right to be informed  and a right to choose different  products  and services,  but also to be protected  (Reich and Micklitz 2003; Stuyck 2000; De Vries 2006; Weatherill 1997; Weatherill 2011).

As the economic rights of citizens are ‘old rights’, the ways in which these rights should be understood and have been developed, particularly in the case law of the CJEU, are well documented in (legal) literature (see for example with regard to goods: Oliver 2004, services and persons: O’Leary 2011, four freedoms in general: Barnard 2010). It appears that from the outset the economic rights of EU  citizens  based  on  the  four  freedoms  entail  a  right  to  equal  treatment  i.e.  the  right  not  to  be discriminated against and the right to freedom of movement (O’Leary 2011). But the CJEU went even further by prohibiting all kinds of restrictions i.e. national rules which restrict market access, thereby offering citizens a right to gain access to the market in another Member State (Snell 2010).

Irrespective  of the broad scope of economic  rights, there are still obstacles  which make the exercising of these rights more difficult or even impossible. This is partly due to the possibility of restricting the freedom of movement for public policy reasons or because civil or social rights take precedence over conflicting economic rights (Barnard 2011; De Vries 2006 & 2011).

As economic  rights constitute an indispensable  aspect of EU citizenship  –  they have always been  stressed  by  the  EU  –  a study  of  the  rights  and  barriers  citizens  face  when  exercising  their economic rights continues to be of imperative importance for the understanding of obstacles and opportunities for achieving EU citizenship. So far legal literature has focused on the legal barriers to freedom of movement (Ioriatti 2004), on the case law of the CJEU and on the legislative practice of the EU. Systematic  research  as to which practical  barriers  can be identified  alongside  the legal ones – making the exercising of economic rights more difficult or even impossible in practice – is relatively underdeveloped.

The objective of the Work Package on Economic Rights (WP5) is to study the problems EU citizens and third country nationals face in getting access to economic rights, as well as how they can make use of these rights from the perspective  of EU citizenship.  Against  this background,  we can identify four different  categories  of specific substantive  economic  rights of citizens and the barriers they face:
a.    The rights and barriers citizens experience  as producers  and users of knowledge  to manage, protect   and  exercise   intellectual   property   rights,   partly   due  to  the  lack  of  (adequate) harmonisation of intellectual property rules in the fields of copyright and patents.
b.   The rights and barriers citizens experience when providing or receiving services; here we see significant changes in the scope and character of services, partially due to the adoption of the Services Directive  (2006) and due to the liberalisation  of services markets together with the increasing  relevance  of the concept  of public  service  (Van de Gronden  2009;  Freedland  & Sciarra 1998; Szyszczak 2007).
c.    The rights and barriers citizens experience to exercising their profession.
d.   The rights  and barriers  citizens  experience  in their capacity  of consumers  to choose,  to be informed and to be protected while purchasing goods and services on the internal market.

So, for each of the categories (a-d) the typical characteristics  are stated which influence their access from  outside  and  their  impact  on the  inside.  WP  5 uses  a variety  of methods,  partly  building  on groundwork already laid (see above), including a systematic legal analysis of EU instruments and their implementation in Member States and the effects on EU nationals and third country nationals; cross- national case studies covering the different categories of economic rights and a cross-task analysis of the  factors  which  have  an  impact  on  linguistic  barriers  (Ioriatti  2010)  making  the  exercising  of economic rights more difficult and costly.

–  Barnard  C.  (2010),  The  Substantive  Law  of  the  EU  –  The  Four  Freedoms  (Oxford:  Oxford University Press)
–  Barnard  C. (2010),  ‘EU ‘Social  Policy’:  From Employment  Law to Labour  Market  Reform’,  in: Craig P. and de G. de Búrca (eds) The Evolution of EU Law (Oxford, Oxford University Press): 641- 686
–  Van Eijken H. & S.A. de Vries (2011), ‘A new route into the promised  land? Being a European citizen after Ruiz Zambrano’, European Law Review, 36: 704
–  Freedland M. & S. Sciarra (1998), Public Services and Citizenship in European Law – Public and Labour Law Perspectives (Oxford: Oxford University Press)
–  Van de Gronden  J. (ed.),  (2009),  EU and WTO  Law on Services  – Limits  to the Realisation  of General Interest Policies within the Services Markets? (Alphen a/d Rijn: Kluwer Law International)
–  Hatzopoulos  V. and TU Do (2006), ‘The Case Law of the ECJ Concerning  the Free Provision of Services 2000-2005’, Common Market Law Review, 43: 923
–  Ioriatti, E. (2010), ‘Draft common frame of reference and terminology’ in Antoniolli A., Fiorentini F. (eds.), Factual Assessment of the Draft Common Frame of Reference , (München, Sellier): 343- 360
–  Ioriatti, E. (2004), ‘A methodological approach for a European restatement of contract law’ in Gobal Jurist Topics, No. 3
–  Shuibhne N. Nic (2010), ‘The Resilience of EU Market Citizenship’, Common Market Law Review, 47: 1597
–  O’Leary  S. (2011),  ‘The Free Movement  of Persons  and Services’,  in Craig P. and de Búrca G. (eds), The Evolution of EU Law (Oxford, Oxford University Press): 499-545
–  Prechal  S. & S.A. de Vries (2009),  ‘Seamless  web of judicial  protection  in the internal  market’, European Law Review, 34:5
–  Snell J. (2010), ‘The notion of market access: a concept or a slogan?’, Common Market Law Review, 47:437.
–  Reich  N.  and  H.W.  Micklitz   (2003),  Europäisches   Verbraucherrecht   (Baden-Baden:   Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft)
–  Spaventa E. (2008), ‘Seeing the Wood despite the Trees? On the Scope of Union Citizenship and its Constitutional Effects’, Common Market Law Review, 45:30.
–  Spaventa   E.,   (2004),   ‘From   Gebhard   to   Carpenter;   Towards   a   (Non)-Economic   European Constitution’, Common Market Law Review, 41:743
–  Szyszczak E. (2007), The Regulation  of the State in Competitive  Markets in the European Union, (Oxford: Hart Publishing)
–  De Vries S.A. (206), Tensions within the Internal Market – The Functioning of the Internal Market and the Development of Horizontal and Flanking Policies (Groningen: Europa Law Publishing)
–  De Vries S.A., X. Groussot and G. Thor Petursson (2012), Balancing Fundamental Rights with the EU Treaty Freedoms:  The European  Court of Justice as ‘tightrope’  dancer, (The Hague: Eleven International Publishing)
–  Weatherill,  Stephen (forthcoming),  ‘Consumer Policy’ in Paul Craig, Grainne de Burca (eds.), The Evolution of EU Law (Oxford University Press)