Thursday, January 14, 2010

This Week in Luxembourg

- Today, AG Mengozzi released an opinion in another terrorism case. This time, the question is quite simply whether "indirectly" in art. 2(2) of Regulation 881/2002 includes making (social security) funds available to the spouse of someone on the list. (Cf. House of Lords ruling here.) If so, the Treasury would be justified in imposing the stringent requirements that they are currently imposing on social security payments in those circumstances. The AG, however, proposes that a payment to the spouse is not an indirect payment to the listed person. M (FC) and others v. HM Treasury.

- The First Chamber ruled today that a German ban on using lottery tickets as a promotional device for the sale of goods to consumers was incompatible with Directive 2005/29. The directive is meant to fully harmonise the area of unfair b2c business practices, and using lottery tickets in this way is neither included in the Annex, which lists things the MS may in any event ban, nor is it covered by the definition of unfair practices of art. 5 of the Directive Plus Warenhandelsgesellschaft mbH.

- Apparently there is (still) such a thing as Directive 89/105 concerning the pricing of medicinal products, which, inter alia, allows for a price freeze. If an MS chooses to enact one, the Directive requires that they evaluate whether this is justified by "the macro-economic conditions". Today, the question was raised whether that includes the financial health of the pharmaceutical sector. The reply of the Third Chamber is that the article is too vague for there to be a court mandated Europe-wide uniform answer, and that the provision in any event does not have direct effect. AGIM v. Belgium.

- In the context of the Habitats Directive, an interesting issue of German Constitutional law came up, concerning municipalities' right under art. 28(2) GG (English) to "administrative autonomy". Here, the City of Papenburg sued Germany, asking that Germany be ordered to refuse its consent to the Commission's draft list of "Sites of Community Importance" because of the disproportionate economic effect one of the included sites would have on Papenburg. The ECJ, however, ruled that Germany may not refuse its consent on these grounds. Stadt Papenburg v. Germany.

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