Thursday, September 20, 2012

Today in Luxembourg

No ECJ judgements this week, only AG opinions and General Court judgements:

AG Mazák proposed some guidance for the Greek Council of State in another gambling case. The AG’s discussion of the proportionality analysis that the national court is to undertake seems to reflect a certain skepticism about the likelihood that the state will prevail. Regarding the possibility of a transition period, should the existing system be found wanting, the AG is quite clear. That is a no go. Stanleybet et al. v. Ypourgos Oikonomias kai Oikonomikon

Predictably, AG Bot shot down  a blatantly discriminatory Polish rule for service of court documents. Cf. Regulation 1393/2007. Alder and Alder v. Orlowska and Orlowski

AG Sharpston had some issues with the question of whether the Greek Court of Auditors is a court in the sense of art. 267 TFEU for the purposes of the case at bar, but ultimately she concluded that it was. On the merits, she argued that you can’t let one category of (state) worker do union work “on the clock”, while counting the union work of another category as unpaid leave. Commissioner of the Elegktiko Sinedrio with responsibility for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism v. Audit Service of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Konstantinos Antonopoulos

AG Kokott had a similar admissibility problem with regard to the Bulgarian Commission for Protection against Discrimination. Kokott, too, ended up concluding that the case was admissible. On the merits, she argued that a Bulgarian law which implemented Directive 2000/43 only with respect to legally recognized rights was too narrow. Any unjustified disparate treatment that negatively affects an ethnic group is discrimination. And, as it turns out, putting Roma electricity meters at 7 m. above the street instead of 1.70 m. has a negative impact on them. Belov Cf. Recent Developments in European Consumer Law Blog and the UK Human Rights Blog

The General Court (Judge Wahl) agreed with the Commission that La Poste (FR)’s status as an EPIC (Établissement public à caractère industriel et commercial) and the manner said EPIC was governed created an implied unlimited guarantee of the state for the benefit of La Poste, which in turn meant that La Poste was receiving unlawful state aid. The Commission ordered that La Poste should be converted into a standard plc, and the General Court upheld that decision. France v. Commission (This is a topic that interests me greatly. I've blogged about it in the past, and I hope to do so again soon.)

Also important is the General Court’s decision in DEI v. Commission. The Commission had found an infringement of art. 106 TFEU, because the Greek government had given special and near-exclusive rights to DEI for the exploration and exploitation of lignite deposits. Cf. Commission Decision C(2008) 824. The General Court (Judge Kanninen) now held, however, that the Commission should have shown actual abuse of dominance, and that its failure to do so meant that the decision had to be annulled.

Last week, finally, there was another interesting competition case in the General Court – one that is still not available via Eur-Lex or in any other language than French – about the Commission’s discretion about which cases to pursue. In the end, the Court (Judge Kancheva) held that the Commission could have reasonably concluded that a sufficient Community Interest in enforcement was lacking. Protégé International v. Commission Cf. European Law Blog and Chillin’ Competition

UPDATE: Also interesting is this order of the President of the General Court, whereby he suspends the effect of a Commission decision requiring Greece to reclaim illegal state aid because if Greece tried to reclaim that aid people would riot. Cf. Verfassungsblog

No comments: