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Chapter 7 - Measuring the Effects of the Contract Law of the Internal Market

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 September 2018

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Summary

THE CONTRACT LAW OF THE INTERNAL MARKET: A BRIEF SUMMARY

The EU is committed by Article 3(3) TEU to the creation of an internal market which, according to the definition provided by Article 26(2) TFEU, ‘shall comprise an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured’. The Court of Justice has had its moments of constitutional hyperbole: in 1971 it declared the ‘essential purpose of the Treaty’ to be ‘to unite national markets into a single market’ and in 2011 it stated that completion of the internal market is ‘the fundamental aim of the Treaty’. Th at goes beyond what is in fact and in form contained in the Treaties, but there is no doubt that the project of economic integration has enjoyed enduring prominence as the EU's most visible transformative feat. The internal market is demonstrably central to the EU's activities.

The EU reaches contracts and contract law almost exclusively through the internal market. Chapter 2 shows how free movement law and competition law are not targeted at contracts or contract law but how nevertheless the impact that contracts and contract law exert on the functioning of the internal market brings them within the scope of the review exercised by free movement and competition law. It is especially ‘regulatory contract law’ that is affected. Chapter 2 also explains that there is a small, but potentially expanding, impact on contracts and contract law as a result of EU anti-discrimination law and the wider, albeit ambiguously shaped, ‘constitutionalisation’ of contract law – this is a glimpse of EU contract law beyond the internal market. Chapter 3 returns to the heartland of the internal market and shows how legislative harmonisation engages with contract law, especially ‘regulatory contract law’, on the basis that diverse national choices obstruct trade in goods and services or cause an appreciable distortion of competition within the internal market. Harmonisation improves the functioning of the internal market, and it has a ‘dual function’: both to put in place common EU rules which are the platform for an integrated trading space, and to put in place common EU rules which determine the intensity of market (re-)regulation within that space.

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Publisher: Intersentia
Print publication year: 2016

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