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Euthanasia and the ethics of free movement law : the principle of recognition in the internal market.

Van Leeuwen, Barend (2018) 'Euthanasia and the ethics of free movement law : the principle of recognition in the internal market.', German law journal., 19 (6). pp. 1417-1436.


The free movement provisions enable EU citizens to follow their own ethical preferences by going to a Member State that has made a different ethical choice from their home Member State. However, UK citizens who have assisted suicide or euthanasia abroad could be criminally prosecuted on their return to England. This possibility of a criminal prosecution constitutes a restriction on free movement. Nevertheless, the free movement provisions have so far not been used to challenge the English prohibition of euthanasia. The aim of this article is to show that, based on its ultimate aim, free movement law does have a legitimate role to play in ethical issues. The internal market is based on a principle of recognition, which forces Member States to engage with regulatory choices made by other Member States. This also applies to ethical issues. Member States are not required to justify the existence of different ethical choices. However, if they decide to restrict free movement, they have to be able to show that these differences in fact exist. This approach achieves a balance between the right of citizens to make their own ethical choices, and the ability of Member States to protect their legislation on ethical issues.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:First published in the German Law Journal, 30 November 2018, Vol. 19 No. 06.
Date accepted:04 April 2018
Date deposited:11 April 2018
Date of first online publication:30 November 2018
Date first made open access:No date available

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