• In the case of Joined Cases 117 76 and 16 77 Ruckdeschel 1977 Ecr 1753, it was held that in European Union law, there is a principle of equality.

Facts of the Case

  • A council regulation abolished production refunds on maize used to make quellmehl and gritz but not on maize used to make starch, which was in competition with both quellmehl and gritz.  
  • The case involved the manufacture of beer using malt, starch products from coarse- grained cereals, maize meal known as gritz, starch and starch products. There was competition between the maize industry which produced gritz and the starch industry and also the chemical industry which produced oil-based substitute products all of which were rival ingredients for the brewing industry.
  • The producers challenged the regulation stating it infringed Article 40(2) TFEU.

Issues in Joined Cases 117 76 and 16 77 Ruckdeschel 1977 Ecr 1753

  • Could the regulation be voided due to being incompatible with the principle of equality?

Held by European Court of Justice

  • Regulation incompatible.

Kutscher, C.J

  • Held, that the EC Treaty Art.40(3) does not refer clearly to the relations between different trade or industrial sectors in processed agricultural products. Prohibition of discrimination is a specific enunciation of the principle of equality which requires that similar situations or cases should not be treated differently without objective reasons.
  • “The provisions of Article 11 of Regulation no 120/67/EEC of the Council of 13 June 1967, as worded with effect from 1 August 1974 following the amendment made by Article 5 of Regulation (EEC) no 1125/74 of the Council of 29 April 1974, and repeated in subsequent Regulations, are incompatible with the principle of equality in so far as they provide for quellmehl and pre-gelatinized starch to receive different treatment in respect of production refunds for maize used in the manufacture of these two products.” [Ruling]