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The concept of 'economic activity' in the EU treaty: from ideological dead-ends to workable judicial concepts. Research Paper in Law 06/2011

Hatzopoulos, Vassilis (2011) The concept of 'economic activity' in the EU treaty: from ideological dead-ends to workable judicial concepts. Research Paper in Law 06/2011. UNSPECIFIED.

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    [From the Introduction]. The economic rules, or put more ambitiously, the economic constitution of the Treaty,1 only apply to economic activities. This general principle remains valid, even if some authors strive to demonstrate that certain Treaty rules also apply in the absence of an economic activity,2 and despite the fact that non-economic (horizontal) Treaty provisions (e.g. principle of nondiscrimination, rules on citizenship) are also applicable in the absence of any economic activity.3 Indeed, the exercise of some economic activity transcends the concepts of ‘goods’ (having positive or negative market value),4 workers (even if admitted in an extensive manner),5 and services (offered for remuneration).6 It is also economic activity or ‘the activity of offering goods and services into the market’7 that characterises an ‘undertaking’ thus making the competition rules applicable. Further, it is for regulating economic activity that Article 115 TFEU, Article 106(3) TFEU and most other legal bases in the TFEU provide harmonisation powers in favour of the EU. Last but not least, Article 14 TFEU on the distinction between services of general economic interest (SGEIs) and non-economic services of general interest (NESGIs), as well as Protocol n. 26 on Services of General Interest (SGIs) confirm the constitutional significance of the distinction between economic and non-economic: a means of dividing competences between the EU and the member states. The distinction between economic and non-economic activities is fraught with legal and technical intricacies – the latter being generated by dynamic technological advances and regulatory experimentation. More importantly, however, the distinction is overcharged with political and ideological significations and misunderstandings and, even, terminological confusions.8

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    Item Type: Other
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > economic and financial affairs > economic policy
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > College of Europe (Brugge) > Research Papers in Law
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2013 20:20
    Number of Pages: 38
    Last Modified: 25 Jan 2013 20:20

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