The Inactive Integration Clause: Can Art. 12 TFEU Shape Future Sustainable Consumer Policies?

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. The development of European consumer protection policy. – III. The limits of art. 12 TFEU. – IV. Coordination between consumer and environmental policy: a new avenue to activate art. 12 TFEU? – IV.1. The 2020 Consumer agenda. – V. Conclusion.

Abstract: The integration clause contained in art. 12 TFEU has been rarely invoked in European policymaking. This is due to the generic language adopted by the EU legislator, who does not impose an obligation on the EU bodies to integrate consumer protection in other Union policies or on Member States, thus reducing the justiciability of the provision. Compared to other TFEU provisions dedicated to consumer protection, the strength of art. 12 TFEU seems extremely low. However, art. 12 TFEU may come in handy in the development of a more sustainable economy in which the interests of consumers are not only focused on strengthening the internal market but also on safeguarding the environment and reducing industrial waste. This Article evaluates whether and how art. 12 TFEU may impact the choices of European bodies on the circular economy, the European Green Deal and the recent Consumer Agenda strengthening the role of consumers in the green transition.

Keywords: consumer protection – sustainability – horizontal clause – policy integration – internal market – green transition.

European Papers, Vol. 7, 2022, No 3, pp. 1431-1446
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/620

* Part-time professor, European University Institute,


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