Fundamental Freedoms

Fundamental Freedoms in Europe

Content about Fundamental Freedoms from the publication “The ABC of European Union law” (2010, European Union) by Klaus-Dieter Borchardt.

Freedom results directly from peace, unity and equality. Creating a larger entity by linking 27 States affords at the same time freedom of movement beyond national frontiers. This means, in particular, freedom of movement for workers, freedom of establishment, freedom to provide services, free movement of goods and free movement of capital. These fundamental freedoms guarantee business people freedom of decision-making, workers freedom to choose their place of work and consumers freedom of choice between the greatest possible variety of products. Freedom of competition permits businesses to offer their goods and services to an incomparably wider circle of potential customers. Workers can seek employment and change job according to their own wishes and interests throughout the entire territory of the EU. Consumers can select the cheapest and best products from the far greater range of goods on offer that results from increased competition.

Context of Fundamental Freedoms in the European Union

However, transitional rules still apply in some cases to citizens of the Member States which joined the EU on 1 May 2004 and 1 January 2007. The Accession Treaty contained exceptions in particular with regard to the free movement of workers, the freedom to provide services and the freedom of establishment. As a result, the ‘old’ EU Member States can restrict the free movement of workers who are nationals of the ‘new’ Member States for a period of up to seven years by making access to employment subject to national or bilateral law.

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