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How special is Centros? This contribution places Centros in internal market law. It starts by

turning the judgment on its head and imagines an alternative Centros: the judgment that the

Danish authorities had wished for and which the Court declined to hand down. The aim of this

exercise in legal fiction is to show that the Court could have decided Centros in another way.

The choices underpinning Centros are then contrasted with other internal market cases to

conclude that both the real Centros and the alternative Centros are in some ways aligned with

the free movement case law. It is argued that Saydé’s analysis of abuse best helps to make sense

of this confusing state of play. The article ends with suggestions for further research: taking the

cost dimension into account in a behavioural perspective could shed light on the allocation of

regulatory powers between home state and host state.

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