L’entrave dans le droit du marché intérieur - Collection Droit de l’Union Européenne

Loïc Azoulai

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Obstruction is a concept forged by the Court of Justice of the European Union in order to give meaning and effectiveness to the objective of creating a single European market. Initially aimed at framing the commercial regulations of the Member States, its scope has gradually been widened. At present, the attractiveness of the concept of barrier seems almost limitless: it applies to areas as diverse as taxation, social protection, education, games of chance or professional sport. It is now an essential and structuring theme in European legal studies. However, its criteria, outlines and effects are still poorly understood and poorly defined. This book sets out to clarify the meaning and limits of the concept of hindrance by exploring the various areas of case-law in which it appears and distinguishing it from comparable or competing notions of Union law. But its ambition is also broader: it is to bring to light the political issues and institutional battles that structure the current debate on the European project. By manipulating this concept, the Court has inevitably been led to answer questions that are essential for the future of the Union: What model of economic and social integration does it intend to promote? What degree of freedom do the Member States of the Union retain in the regulation of economic and social activities? What degree of harmonisation and uniformity of national laws is the Union entitled to impose? What role do the Court of Justice and the political institutions play in shaping Union law? It is undoubtedly one of the most valuable results of this collective reflection to reveal how much choice and political philosophy is concealed beneath the mastery of the seemingly most technical concept.