To bail out or not to bail out: the CJEU confirms competence to conclude the ESM Treaty

The Pringle case (Case C-370/12 Pringle) decided today is arguably the case of the year. In an accelerated procedure, the full court (all 27 judges!) answered a number of questions referred by the Irish Supreme Court on the competence of EU Member States under EU law to conclude the ESM Treaty. The ESM Treaty is a treaty under public international law concluded by the members of the eurozone to create a permanent crisis mechanism to safeguard the stability of the euro area. It is the latest answer to the ongoing sovereign debt crisis (dubbed the ‘eurocrisis’) experienced by a number EU Member States that have the euro as a currency.

Despite the good intentions of its creators, the idea of setting up a permanent international body competent to grant financial assistance (amongst other things) to eurozone members in financial difficulties goes somewhat against the foundations of the Economic and Monetary Union, which aims at ensuring price stability through sound government budgets. It is thus not surprising that a case was brought before the CJEU so that the latter had to rule on whether Member States can actually do this under EU law.

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Case C-245/11 K – The Humanitarian Clause of the Dublin Regulation : States’ (Obligatory) Discretion to Bring Families Together

On November 6, the Grand Chamber issued an important judgment on the interpretation of the humanitarian clause of the Dublin Regulation. It found that a State is obliged to apply, of its own motion, the Regulation’s humanitarian clause where it would “bring together” dependent family members. That State must therefore assume responsibility for an asylum seeker who would otherwise be required to seek asylum elsewhere under the Regulation’s criteria.

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Case C-600/10: The free movement of capital, infringement actions and the need for a plausible case

A short note on a case of yesterday: In Commission v. Germany (judgment only available in German and French so far), the Commission had argued that the free movement of capital was hindered by provisions of German tax law according to which non-resident pensions funds could not deduct directly connected operating costs from dividends and interests generated in Germany. This would create a disadvantage compared to resident pension funds which were entitled to deduct these costs in full. However, the Commission failed to convince the Court that it had a plausible case.Continue reading

The legal risks of stopping the clock on the EU ETS aviation scheme

Past Monday, Commissioner Hedegaard announced that she requested the EU Member States to suspend the application of the Emissions Trading Scheme to the aviation sector pending new impetus that might be given by the ICAO Council to find a multilateral solution to combating climate change in the aviation sector. Hedegaard announced that  ‘in order to create a positive atmosphere around these very important negotiations, I have just recommended in a telephone conference with 27 member states that the EU stops the clock when it comes to enforcement of aviation into the Emissions Trading System (ETS) to and from non-European countries until after the ICAO assembly next autumn.’

This is the latest development in the ongoing saga concerning the inclusion of aviation into the European scheme. The international protest has been growing the past year especially since last years ATA-judgment of the CJEU, with many of the EU’s main trading partners having threatened to take retaliatory measures against the EU for applying their scheme to third country carriers. This heterogeneous group, dubbed ‘the coalition of the unwilling’, has vowed to combat the EU ETS within the ICAO until it has been removed. Today, the Republican dominated US House of Representatives passed a bill making it illegal for US air transport undertakings to comply with the EU ETS.

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New consolidated version of the TFEU

The EU has corrected the typo in the English version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. As I reported earlier, the previous version contained an incorrect reference to a Chapter in article 28 (2) TFEU. This has now been amended!

Edit: one of our readers pointed out another change in this new consolidated version of the TFEU relating to the number of seats in the European Parliament. Article 2 of Protocol 36 has also been amended following the ratification in 2011 of a minor treaty change as to bridge the transitional period of the previous elections of the European Parliament and the new elections under the new Treaty regime.

CJEU confirms Sturgeon: compensation due also for delayed flights

The Airlines lost, end of story. I could stop there, refer you to our earlier post and conclude by expressing the hope that airlines will acknowledge defeat and in the future pay compensation when compensation is due under Regulation 261/2004. However, being the academic minded blogger, I’ll go into more detail on the joined cases Nelson (C-581/10) and TUI Travel (C-629/10) below.

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Kadi De-listed – a cause for celebration?

It finally happened: After more than a decade, Mr Yassin Abdullah Kadi is no longer ‘blacklisted’ by the UN and the EU.

To recall, on 17 October 2001, the United Nations Security Council added Mr Kadi to a so-called ‘blacklist’, thus  requiring his financial assets to be frozen in view of his suspected involvement in the financing of international terrorism. Two days later, the EU followed suit by adding Mr Kadi on its own list and thus subjecting him to EU measures implementing the Security Council resolutions, which Mr Kadi subsequently challenged before the EU courts. Fast forward almost eleven years: On 5 October 2012, the Security Council removed Mr Kadi from the UN list, ‘after concluding its consideration of the delisting request submitted by this individual through the Ombudsperson’. A week later, the EU followed suit once more and took Mr Kadi off its list as well.

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Uniformity or deference to national constitutional traditions in the protection of fundamental rights? Opinion AG Bot in Case C-399/11 Melloni

This Opinion of Advocate General Bot, given in response to a preliminary reference raised by the Spanish Tribunal Constitucional, gives interesting insights on the relation between national and EU fundamental rights standards, and gives an important interpretation on the ambiguous wording of Article 53 of the Charter on Fundamental Rights. AG Bot reaffirms the autonomous nature of the EU fundamental rights standard. He clearly rejects the idea that Article 53 entails that the Charter merely lays down a minimum standard of rights protection above which Member States would be free to apply a higher –national- standard of protection. However, he admits that a provision of secondary law may be challenged where it infringes national constitutional identity.Continue reading

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