Commission v Belgium: ECJ 18 Mar 1986

ECJ 1. The purpose of the pre-litigation procedure provided for by article 169 of the Treaty, which forms part of the general supervisory tasks entrusted to the commission by the first indent of article 155, is to give the member state concerned an opportunity either to justify its position or, if it so wishes, to comply of its own accord with the requirements of the treaty. If that attempt to reach a settlement proves unsuccessful, the member state concerned is requested to comply with its obligations as set out in the reasoned opinion within the period prescribed therein.
2. Article 12(b) of the Protocol on the privileges and immunities of the European Communities provides that officials and other servants of the community are exempt from any requirement to register in the population registers in the member states in which the places of employment of the community institutions are situated. It follows from that provision and article 5 of the EEC Treaty that the member states must refrain from adopting any measure which would have the effect of compelling officials and other servants of the community, whether directly or indirectly, to apply for registration in the population registers. A constraint of that kind is operative in particular where a member state attaches unfavourable consequences to non-registration by officials and other servants of the communities. Municipal by-laws which have the effect of subjecting officials and other servants of the communities residing within the territory of the municipalities concerned to an indirect constraint to register in the population registers in order to avoid liability to a municipal tax are therefore contrary to article 5 of the treaty in conjunction with article 12(b) of the protocol on the privileges and immunities of the european communities.
3. The existence of remedies available through the national courts for challenging measures incompatible with community law cannot prejudice the making of the application referred to in article 169 of the Treaty since the two procedures have different objectives and effects.


C-85/85, [1986] EUECJ C-85/85




Updated: 22 May 2022; Ref: scu.134080