Top 10 most read posts of the year

As the end of the year is approaching many news sites, radio stations and other media usually make lists to summarize the year in numbers. Following this tradition I would like to list the posts that were most read by our readers (according to Google Analytics). This is of course not entirely fair to the most recent posts written, since they had less time to become popular among readers, but I think it is a fun exercise nonetheless. So here we go:

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The Advent of Gender Neutral Insurance Premiums

The date is December 21, 2012 (or, for our Mayan readers, and the apocalypse has not materialized (Hooray for Earth!). December 21 will, however, be remembered for another transformative event, at least in so far as the European insurance industry is concerned.

Today, the CJEU’s controversial ruling in Test Achats will enter into force, signifying that insurers can no longer take sex into account when calculating insurance premiums. Gender neutral or “unisex” pricing must now be implemented across the industry.

On March 1, 2011, the Grand Chamber ruled that a provision which enabled States to maintain sex-specific insurance premiums, notwithstanding the rule on unisex insurance and benefits laid down in Directive 2004/113, was incompatible with the principle of sex equality, enshrined in Articles 21 and 23 of the Charter. The Court took the unusual step of delaying the entry into force of the judgment until the expiry of an “appropriate transitional period”, allowing insurance companies time to adjust to the ruling.Continue reading

Commission withdraws request for an Opinion on ACTA

The European Commission has decided to withdraw its request for an Opinion of the CJEU on the compatibility of ACTA with EU law, and more specifically the EU Charter of fundamental rights (the decision was allegedly taken on Wednesday’s meeting of the Commission, although we are still waiting for an official press release). As I reported earlier, the admissibility of the request was doubtful in any case. Nonetheless, this is a nice Christmas present from the Commission to the CJEU, which will not have to deal with this political hot potato anymore. Too bad for the academic world I guess; I was quite curious what the CJEU would make of the request.

The Commission’s double role in competition law enforcement: the Otis case

CC from November 6th, the Grand Chamber of the CJEU issued a ruling in Case C-199/11 (Europese Gemeenschap v Otis NV and Others). The case concerns the principle of effective judicial protection (laid down in Article 47 of EUCFR) and the private enforcement of competition law. The Brussels Commercial Court referred the issue for a preliminary ruling in the course of a dispute between Otis and the other businesses and the EU, represented by the Commission.

The main controversy in the case was whether the principle of effective judicial protection was adequately safeguarded. The Commission, in this case, played a double role: first as the public enforcer of the EU competition law, and second as the victim of the anticompetitive practices. This meant, in a nutshell, that the Commission was asking for damages in a private suit on the basis of its own previous findings of anticompetitive behavior.

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Luxemburgerli: Case C-566/10 P or The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a source of EU law

luxemburgerli BildIn her opinion in the case C-566/10 P Commission/Italy Advocate General Kokott made an interesting point which inspired a new category of posts here at the blog: Luxemburgerli – that is, the lighter side of EU law. For the unfortunate readers who are not familiar with the real life Luxemburgerli, please go see here – or even better, try them if you get the opportunity. We hope to be able to entertain you from time to time with some snippets from Luxembourg on the amusing side of EU law.Continue reading

Pringle – the Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendment Conundrum

Is there such a thing as an unconstitutional constitutional amendment? And if so, does the judge have the power to declare that amendment unconstitutional?

The question seems nonsensical or paradoxical, “rather like asking whether the Bible can be unbiblical”. Yet, if it is primarily the preserve of constitutional theorists – think of the American debate about the constitutionality of a proposed flag-burning amendment – it is nevertheless an issue with practical implications, as witnessed in the recent Pringle case before the CJEU. Here, the Court was asked to assess the validity of a Treaty amendment by reference to the European Union’s (EU) own Treaties. The Court rejected the argument that it did not have jurisdiction and affirmed its power to review the validity of the amendment.Continue reading