European Union Law : Free Movement of Goods within Europe

EU solidarity

The broad concept of EU solidarity is said to be the underlying aspiration of the integration of the people of Europe and is guaranteed by the following freedoms:

Central to the European Union is the concept of unification of nations with the emphasis representing recognition of the autonomy of individual states.

Free Movement of Goods & the Internal Market

Article 28 & 29 of the EC Treaty

Articles 28 and 29 of the Treaty establishing the European Community prohibit import and export restrictions between Member States. Therefore goods are able to be moved from Member State to Member State without restriction creating what is termed the internal market.

The internal market is the market within the European Union, a market not based simply on the individual Member States but across all Member States.

Common Standards

Following the abolition of import and export restrictions between Member States manufacturers of goods all work to the same common standards which are accepted throughout the European Union.

This mutual acceptance of testing and certification means that goods only need to be certified in one Member State for them to be accepted across all Member States.

This also means that it is impossible for individual Member States to impose restrictions over and above what is required as the European Standard. This means that manufacturers can now produce their goods to a certain specification safely in the knowledge that they will be accepted throughout the European Union.

An example of a Member State which imposed higher standards than the rest of Europe in relation to a product was the old German law concerning beer and what chemicals could be used in the processing of beer. Beer containing certain chemicals was thus banned from being sold on the German market. This law is now in violation of the free movement of goods meaning that beer produced all over Europe can now be sold on the German market.

There may be slight issues concerning the language on the packaging when selling products in another Member State but this is a product which can be overcome relatively easily.

Benefit for Consumers

Differing tax rates in various Member States has the effect of either discouraging consumers to purchase products in another country rather than in their own Member State.

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For more information on:

  • Branded Goods
  • How is the Free Movement of Goods protected?
  • Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry
  • Application of Anti-Competitive Legislation