Thursday, October 13, 2011

This Week in Luxembourg

Another big win for airline passengers. A flight is also cancelled if it takes off but returns to its origin, and the “further compensation” of art. 12 of Regulation 261/2004 may – depending on national law – include non-material damage. The only down side is that art. 12 may not be used as a basis for awarding such damage in case of a failure of the air carrier to comply with art. 8 and 9, which deal with reimbursement or re-routing and the right to care in case of delay or cancellation, respectively. Sousa Rodríguez et al. v. Air France

In the Postal Sector, Belgium is allowed to mandate an external scheme for dealing with customer complaints even for postal companies not subject to a universal service obligation. Express Line

In the state aid case of Deutsche Post and Germany v. Commission, the 3rd Chamber annulled the General Court’s decision declaring the applicant’s case inadmissible. As it turns out, a Commission decision under art. 10(3) of Regulation 659/1999 requiring the Member State to produce information for the purposes of a state aid investigation is open to challenge before the Community Courts, both by the Member State in question and by the recipient of the aid.

In Prism Investments, the 4th Chamber held that the list of grounds for refusal of recognition of a judgement from another Member State (art. 34 and 35 of Regulation 44/2001) is exhaustive. In this case the defendant/appellant argued that the judgement had already been complied with in the MS of origin, but according to the ECJ that is not a valid reason for refusing recognition.

As one might expect, the Court did not look too kindly on a selective distribution agreement that had the practical effect of banning internet sales in certain areas. However, partly because the case came to the court as a prejudicial question, there are still a few ways in which the agreement can be saved. Pierre Fabre Demo-Cosmetique v. Président de l’Autorité de la Concurrence

The Association belge des consommateurs test-achats, of discrimination in insurance premiums fame, lost in an interesting judicial review of mergers decisions case. The General Court ruled that they were not entitled to protect their procedural rights under art. 11 of Regulation 802/2004 by asking for judicial review of the Commission’s decision not to object to the takeover of Segebel by Electricité de France, because they had not sufficiently availed themselves of those rights in the pre-decision phase. Association belge des consommateurs test-achats v. Commission

While last week the General Court reviewed the Commission’s treatment of an Italian raw tobacco cartel, this week the raw tobacco comes from Spain. Compared to the original decision from 2004, Agroexpansión (FR) and Alliance One both ended up paying somewhat less, because of some extra credit for cooperation and some confusion about the period for which they could be considered as a single economic unit.

P.S. the archive of these emails is here.

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