Free movement of goods and environmental protection

The free movement of goods is one of the fundamental legal principles of the EC Treaty, and the rights of Member States to introduce rules which restrict free movement are limited to specified grounds by Article 36. The burden is very much on Member States to justify the exceptions, which may be made only to the extent necessary to achieve their purposes. A decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) this summer has illustrated the difficulties facing Member States in invoking Article 36 even where national restrictions are claimed to be essential to prevent a threat to the health and genetic purity of indigenous flora and fauna.

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