Volume 46 (2009) / Issue 5
The Court of Justice has, over the years, often been vilified for exceeding the limits of its jurisdiction by interpreting the provisions of Community legislation in a way not seem originally envisaged by its drafters. A recent example of this approach was a cluster of cases in the context of the free movement of workers and the freedom of establishment (Ritter-Coulais and its progeny), where the Court included within the scope of those provisions situations which, arguably, did not present a sufficient link with their (economic) aim. In particular, in that case law the Court accepted that the mere exercise of free movement for the purpose of taking up residence in the territory of another Member State whilst continuing to exercise an economic activity in the State of origin, suffices for bringing a Member State national within the scope of Articles 39 and 43 EC. It is argued that the most plausible explanation for this approach is that the Court now wishes to re-read the economic fundamental freedoms in such a way as to include within their scope all economically active Union citizens, irrespective of whether their situation presents a sufficient link with the exercise of an economic activity in a cross-border context. It is suggested that this approach is problematic for a number of reasons. It is, therefore, concluded that the Court should revert to its orthodox approach, according to which only situations that involve Union citizens who have moved between Member States for the purpose of taking up an economic activity should be included within the scope of the market freedoms.
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