This paper deals with the issue of compatibility of non-compete covenants with the freedom of movement of workers, granted by art. 45 TFEU and with art. 15, European Charter of Fundamental Rights. After having discussed the evolution of the ECJ case law on the horizontal effect of fundamental freedoms, the Author compares the two models of direct and indirect third-party effect and develops a system of control of non compete covenants on the basis of the principle of proportionality. The critical elements of the Italian regime are highlighted and confronted with a law & economics approach of the function of non-compete covenants.
Keywords: Free movement of workers; Horizontal effect; Non-compete covenants; Fundamental rights; Diffusion of knowledge; Law & economics.