Article 168 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) dictates that “a high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of all Union policies and activities.” This is aligned with the health-in-all-policies approach that the European Union has been pursuing in recent years. Still, in practice the application of the health-in-all-policies approach can be troublesome, particularly when public health interests collide with economic and trade interests. One of the main reasons for establishing the European Union was to create a single market where people, goods and services could move freely. The European single market is seen as one of the EU’s most prominent achievements, as it has brought substantial economic growth and prosperity to Europe’s businesses and citizens. Article 26 to 29 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union cover the internal market and the free movement of goods. These Treaty Articles have more than once been reason for ethical discussions and legal disputes, as they were argued to be at variance with Article 168 of the TFEU.

The internal market

Article 26 of the TFEU

1. The Union shall adopt measures with the aim of establishing or ensuring the functioning of the internal market, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Treaties.

2. The internal market shall comprise an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured in accordance with the provisions of the Treaties.

3. The Council, on a proposal from the Commission, shall determine the guidelines and conditions necessary to ensure balanced progress in all the sectors concerned.

Article 27 of the TFEU

When drawing up its proposals with a view to achieving the objectives set out in Article 26, the Commission shall take into account the extent of the effort that certain economies showing differences in development will have to sustain for the establishment of the internal market and it may propose appropriate provisions.

If these provisions take the form of derogations, they must be of a temporary nature and must cause the least possible disturbance to the functioning of the internal market.

Free movement of goods

Article 28 of the TFEU

1. The Union shall comprise a customs union which shall cover all trade in goods and which shall involve the prohibition between Member States of customs duties on imports and exports and of all charges having equivalent effect, and the adoption of a common customs tariff in their relations with third countries. 26.10.2012 Official EN Journal of the European Union C 326/59

2. The provisions of Article 30 and of Chapter 3 of this Title shall apply to products originating in Member States and to products coming from third countries which are in free circulation in Member States.

Article 29 of the TFEU

Products coming from a third country shall be considered to be in free circulation in a Member State if the import formalities have been complied with and any customs duties or charges having equivalent effect which are payable have been levied in that Member State, and if they have not benefited from a total or partial drawback of such duties or charges.

Short video about the internal market in the EU