European Property Federation

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<REAL ESTATE: EU Free Movement of Capital Rules

EU Free Movement of Capital guarantees the right to buy and sell land and buildings anywhere in the EU without obstacle. This is topical in the context of Brexit and the political movement to limit free movement of capital for agricultural land purchase.

The Treaty's Four Freedoms - free movement of persons, goods, services and capital - apply throughout the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA; EU + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). Three freedoms - free movement of persons, goods and services - apply only to the EU and EEA, but free movement of capital also applies to third countries.

However, further Treaty Capital and Payments articles and CJEU case law water this freedom down concerning third countries.

Full EPF Secretariat report under epf17-92 of 20.11.2017 describing the different treatment of capital flows:

  • intra-EU
  • intra-EEA
  • from third countries other than Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

and using case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union to illustrate why the EU cannot automatically guarantee free movement of capital to anyone else than its own people and those who are locked into the full corpus of EU Internal Market law.