Thursday, December 08, 2011

This Week in Luxembourg

This week, the Grand Chamber weighed in on the imprisoning illegals debate. What the Court said is that MS may not make illegality a crime per se, and may not detain illegals, except in the circumstances envisaged in art. 8 of Directive 2008/115, i.e. in the run-up to forcible removal. Achughbabian

The First Chamber had another case on Decision 1/80 (cf. p. 155 here), although this time not against the Netherlands. A Turkish immigrant worker does not have the same kind of protection against expulsion as an EU citizen does under Directive 2004/38, meaning that he can be sent back to Turkey if his “numerous criminal convictions” make him a “genuine and sufficiently serious threat affecting the fundamental interests of society”, no matter how long he has been in the host country. (Assuming such expulsion is proportionate, of course.) Ziebell v. Land Baden-Württemberg

In Residex v. City of Rotterdam, the Rotterdam District Court thought it had found a neat and simple way to resolve the problem of unlawful state aid in the form of a guarantee given by the city. It declared that guarantee null and void under art. 3:40 Civil Code, and that was pretty much that. The Court of Appeals agreed. The Advocate-General at the Supreme Court, however, thought this was too simple by half. So did AG Kokott (NL). The First Chamber now signs off on the nullity approach, but with the important proviso that the court always has to make sure the competitive situation is restored.

KME and Chalkor lost the appeals in their copper plumbing cartel case. It doesn’t look like they argued anything interesting, although I may of course be wrong, given that I completely missed the novelty of Pierre Fabre in October. KME v. Commission, KME Germany v. Commission and Chalkor v. Commission

Likewise, France Télécom lost its state aid appeal. That case is obviously going to be interesting for anyone working on regulation and competition law issues, even if the particular circumstances of France’s “special tax regime” are unlikely to appear anywhere else.

For the specialists on patents for medicinal products: In Merck Sharp & Dohme v. Deutsches Patent- und Merkenamt, the Second Chamber discusses the possibility of “grant[ing] a supplementary protection certificate where the period that has elapsed between the date of lodging the basic patent application and the first marketing authorisation in the European Union is less than five years.” Cf. Regulation 1901/2006 on medicinal products for paediatric use.

In Invitel (NL, DE, FR), AG Trstenjak discusses the role of an actio popularis in consumer protection law. (Cf. art. 6 and 7 of Directive 93/13.) The answer to all three questions favours the (Hungarian) consumer.

In a case concerning access to documents in a merger review case, AG Cruz Villalón proposes annulling the General Court’s judgement, which in turn annulled the Commission’s decision. The AG’s main problem with the lower court ruling seems to be one of approach, however, not of result. The AG wants the Commission to provide a “concrete and individual justification” for each document it declines to give access to. Commission v. Agrofert Holding

The Deutsche Post state aid case seems to have a troubled past, having already gone to the General Court and the CJEU once before. Now, however, the General Court holds that the request for information that Deutsche Post is trying to get annulled is a non-decision. Deutsche Post v. Commission

The General Court struck HTTS from the list of people and organisations whose assets were to be frozen in light of the sanctions against Iran, because the Council’s stated reasons were insufficient and/or contradictory. It did, however, give the Council two months to fix this problem, so HTTS will probably not get its assets back anytime soon. HTTS Hanseatic Trade Trust & Shipping GmbH v. Council

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