Thursday, December 10, 2009

This Week in Luxembourg

- In the Cross-border electric power line vs. Aarhus convention case, the Second Chamber, like the late AG Ruiz-Jarabo Colomer in June, did the common sense thing and ruled that the total length of the line has to be taken into account for the purposes of deciding whether it is long enough to merit an environmental impact assessment, not just the lenght of the line in the MS in question. Umweltanwalt von Kärnten v Kärntner Landesregierung.

- The Fourth Chamber ruling in Rodríguez Mayor v. Herencia yacente de Rafael de las Heras Dávila is about employment law and collective redundancies, which I don't think are particularly interesting. The only point is the Court's brief reply to the Spanish court's third question in par. 58-59. Since the dispute is outside the scope ratione materiae of Community Law, the Court will not apply the Charter of Fundamental Rights or something called the Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers.

- The Sixth Chamber ruled that a Greek law requiring merchant ships operating under its flag to have a Greek capitain and a Greek first mate was in violation of art. 39 EC/art. 45 TFEU. The Court rejected the argument that these officers fell under the "public service" exception. Greece had argued something about "la situation géographique de la Grèce et de son caractère insulaire", trying to distinguish Spanish, German, French and Italian precedents, but no such luck. Commission v. Greece (French).

- It turns out that Germany is not required to treat German and Polish law degrees the same for the purposes of access to the German legal profession. The fact that the degrees may be "comparable, from the point of view of both the level of training received and the time and effort invested to that end" (par. 46) does not mean Germany is not entitled to demand evidence of actual knowledge of German law. Pesla v Justizministerium Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

- AG Sharpston proposed some guidance as to the meaning of the phrase "without recourse to the social assistance system" in art. 7(1)(c) of Directive 2003/86 on family reunification, as well as the difference that exists in Dutch law but not in the Directive between "family reunification" and "family formation". The AG's proposed answer seems to mostly come out on the side of the plaintiff. Chakroun v. Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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