Property and European Integration: Dimensions of Article 345 TFEU
Tidskrift utgiven av Juridiska Föreningen i Finland, 2012 148:3.
25 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2012 Last revised: 13 Aug 2015
Date Written: February 29, 2012
The relevance of the concept of property for European integration is recognised in a treaty provision whose origin can be traced back to the Schuman Declaration and the Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community. Its present wording is found in Article 345 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU): “The Treaties shall in no way prejudice the rules in Member States governing the system of property ownership.” However, the provision leaves several fundamental questions unanswered. For example, does it establish a division of competences between the European Union and the Member States? If so, what competences does it concern and how are they divided? Is it to be interpreted differently in different contexts? Does it affect the prospects for developing a European property law or other property-related law at European Union level? Moreover, different viewpoints, such as those of integration history and the various property-related fields of law reveal different dimensions of Article 345 TFEU, for example the functions the provision is perceived to serve.
This article examines the provision of Article 345 TFEU from four perspectives. First, the provision is explored in the light of the early stages of European integration and multilingualism. Second, the provision is reviewed with respect to unification and harmonisation efforts in the field of property law. Third, the relation of the provision to competition law is explained. Fourth, the provision is examined at the intersection of competition law and the law of intellectual property.
Keywords: Property, European integration, Article 345 TFEU, interpretation of the Treaties, internal market, property law, harmonisation, unification, competition law, intellectual property
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