Just like Radu, the glorious Bulgarian case of Belov also ended in an anti-climax. Rather than analyse whether it was unlawfully discriminatory for the plaintiff to have his electricity meter installed 7 metres above the ground because he lives in a Roma neighbourhood, the Court held that the referring court was not a court, and that the question was therefore inadmissible. Cf. Recent Developments in European Consumer Law Blog
In the area of compensation for denied boarding in air transport law, the Court (Judge Šváby) held that the closing of large chunks of air space due to the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 counts as “extraordinary circumstances”. The Court also gives some guidance as to which kinds of sums may still be claimed. McDonagh v. Ryanair Cf. Recent Developments in European Consumer Law Blog, Eutopia law and UK Human Rights Blog (This still leaves the question of whether extraordinary circumstances also covers the days Delta Airlines needed to get its timetable back in order after Sandy last year, given that others did it faster. They refused to pay me compensation, but then they would, wouldn’t they?)
AG Mengozzi had a fairly abstract, but interesting problem of public procurement law: Given that the main public procurement directive applies only to “bodies governed by public law” (art. 1(9)(2)(c), what are we to make of the Ärztekammer in Germany? It is in Annex III to the directive (p. 171), but that only creates a rebuttable presumption (cf. Hans & Christophorus Oymans v. AOK Rheinland/Hamburg). The AG relies on the fact that the Ärztekammer is funded with private dues to conclude that the presumption is in fact rebutted.
Surprisingly, AG Jääskinen left a small window open for the possibility that the Italian regulation for opticians that was at issue in Ottica New Line v. Comune di Campobello di Mazara (NL, DE,FR) might be justified under 49 TFEU. He just ruled out the possibility that requiring a minimum distance between them could be justified on the grounds of public health, while leaving open justification as part of an overarching scheme for providing public health care. Realistically, though, it’s not going to happen.
AG Wathelet concluded that making the membership and fees for a sectoral body (equivalent to a “produktschap” in the Netherlands) mandatory was not state aid, given the 2004 Pearle judgment which already settled that question for the Netherlands. The key point is that the state is not providing state resources, nor controlling this money through some other means. Doux Élevage SNC and Coopérative agricole UKL-ARREE v. Ministère de l’Agriculture and Comité interprofessionnel de la dinde française (CIDEF) (NL, DE, FR)
More contentiously, AG Wathelet also went near the issue of detention for illegal aliens pending their return to their home country. The AG argues that such detention is unlawful under Directive 2005/85 once the alien has asked for asylum, unless abuse of right can be shown. (Which, in an asylum context, will not easily be the case, I imagine, although this particular person might come close, which is why the AG brought it up unprompted.) Arslan (NL, DE, FR)
Tackling one of the less headache-inducing questions that have ever been asked about marketing authorisations for medicinal products under Directive 2001/83, AG Sharpston argues that when a marketing authorisation is given specifying the container the product is to be distributed in, you can’t – subject to some small exceptions – change the container without getting a new marketing authorisation. Novartis v. Apozyt
Cross-border doctors (in the free movement of services sense) received some help from AG Cruz Villalón, because he argued that the approach taken by the German Berufsgericht for the medical profession with regard to pricing was too probably rigid, and that their criterion for deciding what constituted unlawful advertising was certainly too vague. Konstantinides (NL, DE, FR)
In the TRIPs case of Daiichi Sankyo and Sanofi-Aventis v. DEMO Anonymos Viomichaniki kai Emporiki Etairia Farmakon (NL, DE, FR), AG Cruz Villalón takes a menu approach to answering the question. He argues:
1. That this area of TRIPs (medical patents) is still a Member States competence, meaning that the Court shouldn’t go near it.
2. In the alternative: That art. 27 TRIPs does not have direct effect.
3. If the Court doesn’t like either of those: That the plaintiffs have not obtained a patent through the entry into effect of TRIPs.
AG Mengozzi applied the principle of ne bis in idem to the requirement for a corporation to publish its accounts in time. The Austrian law in question might leave somewhat to be desired, from aRechtsstaat point of view, but the AG concluded that this did not rise to the level of a violation of the free movement of services or establishment, of ne bis in idem, the rights of defence or the right to an effective remedy. TEXDATA Software GmbH (NL, DE, FR)
Apparently the Commission and some Member States are still arguing about the national allocation plans for emission rights. AG Kokott argued that the General Court was wrong to annul the Commission’s decision against Latvia, and that it should be asked to try again. Commission v. Latvia (NL, DE, FR)
In the General Court, an unsuccessful tenderer failed to obtain a second chance in Cosepuri v. EFSA, and another (Iranian) asset freeze was shot down in Bank Mellat v. Council (Judge Pelikánová). Cf. UK Human Rights Blog
Finally, the EFTA court this week rejected attempts by British and Dutch investors (by way of the EFTA Surveillance Authority, i.e. the European Commission of EFTA) to make the state liable for its failed deposits insurance scheme under Directive 2009/14. EFTA Surveillance Authority v. Iceland Cf. EJIL: Talk! and European Law Blog