Cas­sis de Di­jon case and the Prin­ciple of mu­tual re­cog­ni­tion

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The in­tro­duc­tion of the single mar­ket pro­vi­ded in 1956 by the Trea­ty of Rome and the re­forms of the Single Act in 1986 came up against the he­te­ro­ge­nei­ty of the stan­dards of the mem­ber states of the Eu­ro­pean Com­mu­ni­ty ( EEC). But the Eu­ro­pean Court of Jus­tice ( ECJ) found a so­lu­tion in 1978 ( Re­weZen­tral 120/ 78). This case known as "Cas­sis de Di­jon" re­fers to a re­fu­sal by a Ger­man ad­mi­nis­tra­tion( 1) to im­port a French cur­rant li­queur from the French re­gion na­med Bour­gogne. The Ger­man ad­mi­nis­tra­tion jus­ti­fied its de­ci­sion on the grounds that the le­gis­la­tion of the Fe­de­ral Re­pu­blic of Ger­ma­ny did not au­tho­rize the im­por­ta­tion of spi­rits hol­ding at least a BAC of 35%, whe­reas the French li­quor had on­ly 15 To 20%.

The French im­port com­pa­ny Rewe­Zen­tral brought an ac­tion be­fore the Ger­man courts, which re­fer­red a ques­tion to the ECJ for a pre­li­mi­na­ry ru­ling on the com­pa­ti­bi­li­ty of this Ger­man le­gis­la­tion with the Eu­ro­pean rules which pro­hi­bits im­po­sing quan­ti­ta­tive res­tric­tions on im­ports and im­port mea­sures, Equi­va­lent ef­fect ( in­com­pa­ti­bi­li­ty with Ar­ticle 30 and Ar­ticle 32 of the EC Trea­ty with re­gard to the pro­hi­bi­tion of dis­cri­mi­na­tion in the condi­tions of sup­ply and markets of EEC na­tio­nals)( 2).

« toute mar­chan­dise lé­ga­le­ment pro­duite et com­mer­cia­li­sée dans un pays membre de la CEE doit être li­bre­ment com­mer­cia­li­sé dans les autres Etats membres » .

La CJCE a fi­ni par po­ser le prin­cipe de re­con­nais­sance mu­tuelle en ces termes « la no­tion de « me­sures d'ef­fet équi­va­lant à des res­tric­tions quan­ti­ta­tives à l'im­por­ta­tion » , fi­gu­rant à l'ar­ticle 30 du trai­té CEE, est à com­prendre en ce sens que re­lève éga­le­ment de l'in­ter­dic­tion pré­vue par cette dis­po­si­tion sur la fixa­tion d'une te­neur mi­ni­male en al­cool pour les bois­sons spi­ri­tueuses des­ti­nées à la consom­ma­tion hu­maine, fixée par la lé­gis­la­tion d'un État membre, lors­qu'il s'agit de l'im­por­ta­tion de bois­sons al­coo­li­sées lé­ga­le­ment pro­duites et com­mer­cia­li­sées dans un autres État membre » .

Cet ar­rêt a ain­si fait ju­ris­pru­dence, les ju­ristes ont re­te­nu le prin­cipe se­lon le­quel toute mar­chan­dise lé­ga­le­ment pro­duite et com­mer­cia­li­sée dans un pays membre de la CEE doit être li­bre­ment com­mer­cia­li­sé dans les autres Etats membres.

* EN*

« all goods law­ful­ly pro­du­ced and mar­ke­ted in a mem­ber state of the EEC must be free­ly mar­ke­ted in the other Mem­ber States. »

The ECJ fi­nal­ly lays down the prin­ciple of mu­tual re­cog­ni­tion in the fol­lo­wing terms: "The concept of" mea­sures ha­ving equi­va­lent ef­fect to quan­ti­ta­tive res­tric­tions on im­ports "in Ar­ticle 30 of the EEC Trea­ty is to be un­ders­tood as mea­ning that the pro­hi­bi­tion laid down by that pro­vi­sion al­so pro­vides for the fixing of a mi­ni­mum al­co­hol content for spi­rit drinks in­ten­ded for hu­man con­sump­tion laid down by the le­gis­la­tion of a Mem­ber State in the case of im­ports Al­co­ho­lic be­ve­rages le­gal­ly pro­du­ced and mar­ke­ted in ano­ther Mem­ber State '.

This judg­ment has been a case law and the lawyers have adop­ted the prin­ciple that all goods law­ful­ly pro­du­ced and mar­ke­ted in a mem­ber state of the EEC must be free­ly mar­ke­ted in the other Mem­ber States.

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