Amongst the fundamental freedoms underlying the Internal Market, the free movement of capital is the most recent: it became a directly applicable Treaty freedom only with the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty. In addition, it has the broadest scope of all Treaty freedoms: it is the only freedom going beyond the boundaries of the Internal Market, as it also covers the movement of capital between Member States and third countries.
The legal framework consists of:
- Provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)
- Protocols and declarations
- Transitional measures or other provisions foreseen in the Acts of Accession.
Although this freedom is regulated by directly applicable Treaty Articles, there is some secondary legislation which has an impact to free movement of capital.
The ultimate interpretation of the Treaty provisions lies with the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in specific cases, while the European Commission issues from time to time Interpretative Communications without prejudice to the CJEU judgments.