The four freedoms in the EU: Are they inseparable?
The four freedoms govern the movement of goods, persons, services and capital within the EU. They are the cornerstones of the Single Market and the common currency. Many citizens see them as the greatest achievement of the European unification project. Brexit has reignited the discussion surrounding the free movement of people - that is the opportunity to live and work in any EU country. Technically speaking, it is possible to separate the four freedoms, but does it make political sense?
The four fundamental freedoms have been legally guaranteed since 1986: They state that goods, services, capital and persons can move without restriction within the EU.
These freedoms are cornerstones of the European Single Market. They strengthen trade within the EU. Two-thirds of all goods produced in the EU are exported to another EU country. Since the EU is the world’s largest single market, this free exchange generates positive welfare effects. Studies show that the EU’s gross domestic product (GDP) has grown by several percentage points thanks to the Single Market. The four fundamental freedoms are controversial within the EU, even if the European Single Market serves as a model for many regions.
How the Brexit can continue with the four freedoms can be found in the new Briefing.
About our publication series “Europa Briefing”
In the publication series “Europa Briefing”, the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin cover key topics of European politics and present possible scenarios: What is the problem? What might happen next? And what can politics do now?
All the publications of the joint European project with the Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin are available at www.strengthentheeuro.eu