General corporate: Safeguarding free trade

United Kingdom
Safeguarding free trade

Lorries blocking French motorways could soon be a thing of the past. The Commission has tabled a Regulation which would require Member States to remove serious blockages to the free movement of goods. It is hoped this will put a stop to situations such as and cause financial loss.

There are currently two ways of dealing with breaches of Community law. First, an individual may enforce rights before the national courts, although this is unlikely to be a short or cheap procedure. Second, the Commission or a Member State may begin infringement proceedings before the European Court of Justice (ECJ), a step which may simply aggravate a difficult political situation.

The proposed Regulation was drawn up following a request made by the European Council in June. The measure would make it easier for private individuals and companies who have suffered damage to seek compensation before national courts. If the Regulation is adopted, the Commission could very quickly take a formal Decision to request that the Member State(s) concerned take the necessary measures to end the blockage. Individuals could have the Decision rapidly enforced before their own national courts and obtain provisional measures, as well as fines.