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Un autre viking dans le prétoire. Commentaire sous CJ, 3F c. Commission des Communautés européennes, 9 juillet 2009, C-319/07 P


  • Franck Lecomte


In addition to a secondary international ship register, which enabled registered shipowners to employ third-country nationals on terms and conditions of employment in accordance with the law of their country of residence, the Danish Parliament enacted a law allowing seafarers to benefit from different tax exemptions. A trade union, 3F (hereafter TU), subsequently filed a complaint before the European Commission to review the compatibility of the fiscal relief with regard to State aid provisions. Following the preliminary examination, the Commission decided to raise no objections to the latter measure and not to open the full examination procedure. The TU then brought judicial proceedings before the European jurisdictions. Initially the Court of First Instance (CFI) held that the TU had no standing. The present case hears the appeal lodged by the TU. The Court (ex ECJ) showed appropriate diligence prior to remitting the case to the General Court (ex CFI) (which will have to reconsider the merits of the claim) in dismissing the plea of inadmissibility raised by the Commission. The first section of this article examines the TU standing. Past decisions illustrate the difficulties faced by workers’ representatives in having a voice in employment decision-making processes ; the present ruling thus provides a decisive additional tool for them in the collective action toolkit. The second section discusses the merits of the case, i.e. the necessity to open the full examination procedure. In light of the directives instructed by the Court, which limit the examination of the forthcoming remitted case before the General Court, the compatibility of fiscal relief in accordance with the internal market is investigated. The third section explores the further reference to Article 151 TFEU (ex 136 TCE). Considered as the cornerstone of the European employment policy, it has evolved from a programmatic to a substantive provision, which encompasses the dual objectives of the Community. This renewed construction is an opportunity to draw attention to the current employment law saga and the operating system of the Court.

Suggested Citation

  • Franck Lecomte, 2010. "Un autre viking dans le prétoire. Commentaire sous CJ, 3F c. Commission des Communautés européennes, 9 juillet 2009, C-319/07 P," Revue internationale de droit économique, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(3), pages 297-323.
  • Handle: RePEc:cai:riddbu:ride_243_0297

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