Merci Convenzionali Porto di Genova v Siderurgica Gabrielli (Judgment): ECJ 10 Dec 1991

ECJ 1. The concept of worker within the meaning of Article 48 of the Treaty pre-supposes that for a certain period of time a person performs services for and under the direction of another person in return for which he receives remuneration. That description is not affected by the fact that the worker, whilst being linked to the undertaking by a relationship of employment, is linked to other workers by a relationship of association.
2. Although the simple fact of creating a dominant position by granting exclusive rights within the meaning of Article 90(1) of the Treaty is not as such incompatible with Article 86 of the Treaty, a State is in breach of those two provisions if the undertaking in question, merely by exercising the exclusive rights granted to it, cannot avoid abusing its dominant position or when such rights are liable to create a situation such that it is induced to commit such abuses.
Such is the case when an undertaking to which a monopoly to perform dock work has been granted is induced either to demand payment for services which have not been requested, to charge disproportionate prices, to refuse to have recourse to modern technology or to grant price reductions to certain consumers and at the same time to offset such reductions by an increase in the charges to other consumers.
3. A national measure which has the effect of facilitating the abuse of a dominant position capable of affecting trade between Member States is normally incompatible with Article 30 of the Treaty in so far as it has the effect of making more difficult and hence of impeding the importation of goods from other Member States.
4. Even within the framework of Article 90 of the Treaty, the provisions of Articles 30, 48 and 86 of the Treaty have direct effect and give rise for individuals to rights which the national courts must protect.
5. Dock work is not, in principle, a service of general economic interest exhibiting special characteristics, as compared with the general economic interest of other economic activities, which might bring it within the field of application of Article 90(2) of the Treaty. In any case, the fact that the public authorities have entrusted an undertaking with the operation of services of general economic interest does not, by virtue of the aforesaid provision, absolve it from compliance with the rules of the Treaty unless the application of those rules may obstruct the performance of the particular tasks assigned to it and unless the interests of the Community are not affected.
C-179/90, [1991] EUECJ C-179/90
Cited by:
CitedHumber Oil Terminals Trustee Ltd v Associated British Ports ChD 24-Feb-2011
The claimant sought to renew its leases of docking facilities from the landlord defendant. The defendant resisted saying it intended to operate its own business, and the claimant now alleged that the defendant was abusing its dominant position to . .

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Updated: 04 January 2021; Ref: scu.160499