Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Stacy A. Feld

First Page



The European Union has devoted recent efforts to establishing an integrated global economy, free of barriers or hindrances, primarily through Article 30 of the Treaty Establishing the European Community, the central free movement of goods principle. By eliminating barriers to free trade, the European Union seeks to achieve a single globalized economy among its Member States. Not surprisingly, economic globalization in the European Union has given rise to an integration of political and cultural values among European nations. As a result of this "convergence of values," Member States have responded by enacting protectionist measures that reassert their regulatory autonomy over their culture to counter the undesired effects of the cultural invasion by other nations. The loi Toubon a recent French regulation which requires the use of the French language in a range of social and commercial contexts, is an example of such a protectionist measure. By mandating the use of French in various areas of French life, the French government asserts its nationalism through the regulatory protection of its language. This Note examines the loi Toubon, specifically the provision mandating the use of French in the labeling, packaging and advertising of goods, in the context of the economic globalization in the European Union and analyzes this law under the prevailing body of jurisprudence surrounding Article 30's protection of free trade. This Note concludes by suggesting that the loi Toubon violates the principle of free movement of goods and is inconsistent with the European Union's general design to integrate and harmonize the economic market.