Commission v France (Judgment): ECJ 4 Apr 1974

Europa The commission, in the exercise of the powers which it has under articles 155 and 169 of the treaty, does not have to show the existence of a legal interest, since, in the general interest of the community, its function is to ensure that the provisions of the treaty are applied by the member states and to note the existence of any failure to fulfil the obligations deriving therefrom, with a view to bringing it to an end. Conceived as being applicable to the whole complex of economic activities, the basic rules set out in part two of the eec treaty can be rendered inapplicable only as a result of express provision in the treaty. When article 74 refers to the objectives of the treaty, it means the provisions of articles 2 and 3, the attainment of which the fundamental provisions applicable to the whole complex of economic activities seek to ensure. Far from involving a departure from these fundamental rules, the object of the rules relating to the common transport policy is to implement and complement them by means of common action. Consequently the said general rules must be applied insofar as they can achieve these objectives. Under article 84(2), sea and air transport, so long as the council has not decided otherwise, is excluded only from the rules of title iv of part two of the treaty relating to the common transport policy. It remains, on the same basis as the other modes of transport, subject to the general rules of the treaty. Since the provisions of article 48 and of regulation no 1612/68 are directly applicable in the legal order of every member state, and community law has priority over national law, these provisions give rise, on the part of those concerned, to rights which the national authorities must respect and safeguard and as a result of which all contrary provisions of internal law are rendered inapplicable to them. Although article 48 and regulation no 1612/68 are directly applicable in the territory of the french republic, nevertheless the maintenance in these circumstances of the wording of the code du travail maritime gives rise to an ambiguous state of affairs by maintaining, as regards those subject to the law who are concerned, a state of uncertainty as to the possibilities available to them of relying on community law. The absolute nature of the prohibition on discrimination under article 48(2) of the eec treaty has the effect of not only allowing in each state equal access to employment to the nationals of other member states, but also of guaranteeing to the state’s own nationals that they shall not suffer the unfavourable consequences which could result from the offer or acceptance by nationals of other member states of conditions of employment or remuneration less advantageous than those obtaining under the national law. It thus follows from the general character of the prohibition on discrimination in article 48 and the objective pursued by the abolition of discrimination that discrimination is prohibited even if it constitutes only an obstacle of secondary importance as regards the equality of access to employment and other conditions of work and employment.
A French law which provided that a proportion of the crew of a French flagged vessel must be French nationals, was contrary to the rules relating to the free movement of workers.
[1974] EUECJ C-167/73, C-167/73, [1974] ECR 359, [1996] EUECJ C-167/73
Bailii, Bailii
Cited by:
CitedInternational Transport Workers’ Federation and Another v Viking Line Abp and Another CA 3-Nov-2005
An order had been made restraining the defendant trades unions from taking industrial action. The unions said the UK court had no jurisdiction.
Held: ‘It is at first sight surprising that the English Commercial Court should be the forum in . .
[2005] EWCA Civ 1299

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Updated: 20 December 2020; Ref: scu.132325