Free Movement of Goods

Topics: European Union, United States, Treaty of Lisbon Pages: 7 (2567 words) Published: November 17, 2010
Free Movement Of Goods
Research Title:
The ECJ has been a key institution in the community in integrating the laws of the MS. Nowhere is this more obvious in relation to national laws on free movement of goods. With reference to the EC law on free movement of goods, cortically discuss whether the decision of the ECJ in this area either confirm or disprove this statement. Introduction

As the raison d'etre of the common market, the free movement of goods may be regarded as a fundamental freedom common to all states holding membership of the European Community. The role of the European Court of Justice as a decision-maker is critical in maintaining and ensuring that free movement can prevail between the United States of Europe. Its effectiveness in this capacity is determined by the outcome of cases where member state legislation is put to the test in terms of whether or not it breaches EC legislation for freedom of movement. A plethora of cases have demonstrated that the ECJ takes seriously any attempts to restrict movement on the part of member states' legislatures. On the contrary, the European Court has consistently interpreted the relevant Treaty provisions in such a way as to give maximum effect to the basic objective: common goods must be able to move freely throughout the common marketplace. The single market aims to bring economic benefits to consumers, with the various benefits that affords the community, such as economic advantage to consumers, stimulated marketplace competition, and improved product choice. Ultimately, this author will conclude that the manifold and divers decisions of the ECJ in relation to relevant case law unequivocally confirms the above statement. EC Treaty provisions encouraging the free movement of goods

The concept of free movement of goods may be seen as stemming from Article 14 EC of the Treaty 1 which defines the single market as: "an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty." There are a number of further and more detailed provisions including Article 23 EC dealing with the establishment of a customs union, Article 90 EC dealing with the prohibition of discriminatory taxation, Article 31 EC which is concerned with adjusting state monopolies to avoid discrimination between domestic and foreign goods and Article 87 EC which prohibits state aids which threaten to distort competition. However, the most important body of case law to the present debate revolves around Articles 28 and 29 EC, which together ensure the elimination of quantitative restrictions on import and exports, as well as measures having equivalent effect. Meaning of "Goods" and "Products"

These terms are not defined in the Treaty. They have been interpreted by the ECJ in Commission v Italy 2 , as "anything capable of money valuation and of being the object of commercial transactions". In R v Thompson 3 , they were held to include collectors' coins in gold and silver, provided they were not coins in circulation as legal tender. Object and effect

When interpreting the principle of free movement of goods the ECJ adopts a stringent approach and any exceptions are viewed restrictively. The effect, and significantly not the object is what has tended to be scrutinized by the ECJ. A national measure may infringe EC law unless it can be shown to be objectively justified as necessary to safeguard vital interests. Article 28 EC - Imports

Article 28 states:
"Quantitative restrictions on imports and all measures having equivalent effect shall, without prejudice to the following provisions, be prohibited between Member States" Quantitative restrictions (QR's)

These are limitations on the import of goods fixed by reference to quantitative criteria such as amount of value. They are often referred to as quotas. A complete ban on the import of a particular type of good is a quantitative restriction, as per...
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