Business Law - Cassis de Dijon

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“Without the Cassis de Dijon decision, the EU internal market would never have become a reality”. Discuss this proposition.

To fully understand and discuss the statement above, the two key things that need to be understood are what the Cassis de Dijon is and what the EU internal market is.

The EU internal market comprises the territories of all EU Member States. The aim was, and is to create an area for the application of the 4 fundamental freedoms; the free movement of goods, persons, services, and capital. The free movement of goods is a prerequisite for the proper functioning of the EU’s internal market. Significant relaxation was achieved by eliminating tariff barriers that were preventing the further development in various Member States.

The Cassis de Dijon judgement is a famous example of a decision issued by the European Court of Justice that set out a new legal framework for the achievement of the internal market. It all started in Germany when a trader was refused permission to import a batch of liqueur into the country because the strength of alcohol was inadequate for that kind of liqueur.

However, it admitted that certain obstacles in trade between EU member states were acceptable where they were justified by certain public policy needs, such as health, safety and defence of the consumer. Even today, different nation states continue to apply restrictions on the movement of merchandise. The European Court of Justice also decided in this case, that under certain specified conditions, member states should accept in their own markets, products approved for sale by other member states. This is known as the “mutual recognition principle.” Under the mutual recognition principle now acknowledged by the European Union, an Italian liqueur, for example, can be imported into any EU country given it has been deemed acceptable for sale by other EU countries. The very fact that the liqueur was produced within the European Community grants it the...
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