Four Freedoms of EU Law

The Four Freedoms are core principles of EU law that aim to promote the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people within the EU's single market. These freedoms are fundamental to the EU's objective of creating a unified economic and social space among its member states.

Free Movement of Goods
The Free Movement of Goods facilitates the unrestricted movement of physical products within the EU's single market. It signifies the removal of trade barriers, tariffs, and restrictions on the sale and distribution of goods between EU member states. Under this freedom, products legally produced and marketed in one member state can be sold and distributed throughout the entire EU without facing discriminatory measures. Key principles include the prohibition of customs duties and charges with equivalent effect, the elimination of quantitative restrictions, and the principle of mutual recognition, which allows products to be sold in other member states without retesting or additional requirements.

Free Movement of Services
The Free Movement of Services is another pillar of the EU's single market, enabling service providers to offer their services across borders without undue obstacles. It covers a broad spectrum of services, including financial services, legal services, healthcare, education, and more. This freedom is grounded in principles like non-discrimination, ensuring that service providers from one member state receive equal treatment to domestic providers in another. The country of origin principle is also crucial, allowing service providers to operate in other member states under the rules of their home country, promoting cross-border trade in services and greater choice for consumers.

Free Movement of Capital
The Free Movement of Capital is an essential component of the EU's economic integration, allowing individuals and businesses to move and invest capital freely within the EU. It facilitates financial transactions, investments in securities, real estate acquisitions, and other cross-border financial activities without undue restrictions. Under this freedom, member states are generally prohibited from imposing barriers to the movement of capital, promoting a more integrated and efficient European financial market. This principle ensures that the EU operates as a single economic entity, fostering investment, economic growth, and financial stability.

Free Movement of People
The Free Movement of People, often referred to as the Free Movement of Labor, is a cornerstone of the EU's commitment to promoting mobility and opportunities for its citizens. It allows EU citizens to live, work, study, and retire in other member states, free from the need for work permits or visas. EU citizens and their family members enjoy equal treatment in areas such as employment, social security, and access to public services when residing in another member state. This freedom has not only facilitated labor mobility but has also promoted cultural exchange and cross-border cooperation, contributing to a more interconnected and diverse European community.

These Four Freedoms form the foundation of the EU's single market, which is designed to create a level playing field for economic activity across the EU, enhance competition, stimulate innovation, and provide greater opportunities for citizens and businesses. These principles have been instrumental in driving economic growth and fostering cooperation among EU member states, ultimately leading to greater prosperity and a more unified Europe.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
INSEAD
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham
ESSEC Business School

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law

    Terminology

    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

    Exam-focused

    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.