EUFREEDOMS: The Four Freedoms of the EU Internal Market: Is the Free Movement of Persons More Basic?

EUFREEDOMS examines the philosophical underpinnings of the four fundamental freedoms of the EU single market (the free movement of goods, persons, services, and capital). While the legal literature on the four freedoms is huge, much less effort has been made to analyse the freedoms in philosophical terms. Philosophical debates have focused predominantly on the free movement of natural persons. Yet, there are many interesting questions about all the freedoms. How can we best interpret the rights protected by the freedoms? Which kind of justifications should be given of the four freedoms? How are EU citizens benefited by having each of the freedoms? How should we understand the relationships between the freedoms? is there a hierarchy between the freedoms? Is the free movement of persons worthier of protection than the free movement of capital? How should we handle conflicts between the freedoms and other values (e.g. social rights)? EUFREEDOMS is an interdisciplinary project that contributes to the political theory literature of the EU with an analysis of the philosophical foundations of the four freedoms, which will contribute to shed light on the nature of the rights protected by the freedoms, on the possibility of establishing a hierarchy between the freedoms (arguing that the free movement of persons is more basic than the other freedoms), and also on the way in which the four freedoms should be balanced with other considerations (e.g. social rights). There are many areas where EUFREEDOMS can have considerable impact: for example, it can contribute to a better understanding of the shape that EU integration should take in the future, and to better legitimising the four freedoms in the eyes of EU citizens.