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The four freedoms in the EU: Are they inseparable?

The four freedoms govern the movement of goods, persons, services and capital within the EU. Many citizens see them as the greatest achievement of the European unification project. Technically speaking, it is possible to separate the four freedoms, but does it make political sense?

The four freedoms serve as the cornerstones of the Single Market and the euro. They state that goods, services, capital and persons can move without restriction within the EU and for many citizens, they are the greatest achievement of European integration. Meanwhile, Brexit has reignited a heated debate on the indivisibility of the four freedoms and on the free movement of persons in particular.
This briefing, written by Anna auf dem Brinke, research fellow at the Jacques Delors Institute – Berlin, looks at the crucial question whether the (technically possible) separation of the four freedoms would make any political sense and examines the consequences such a decision would bear.


In the publication series “Europa briefing”, the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin cover key topics of European politics and present possible scenarios: What is the problem? What might happen next? And what can politics do now? You will find all the publications from the joint project here:? www.strengthentheeuro.eu