• In the case of  NV Algemene Transport- en Expeditie Onderneming van Gend en Loos v Nederlandse Administratie der Belastingen (26/62), C, van Gend en Loos imported chemicals from Western Germany to the Netherlands upon which they were required to pay import taxes at the Dutch customs office.

Key Takeaways

  • Art.12 contains clear and unconditional prohibition which is not a positive but a negative obligation.
  • European treaties give rise to legal and natural persons interchangeably

Facts of the Case

  • C challenged the amount that was charged for the import duty in relation to the shipment. C argued that the Dutch government was not allowed to increase the duty made payable in respect to trades between Member States under the Treaty of Rome.
  • D argued that the obligations under Art 12.EC were for MS and for the purpose of governing rights and obligations between different states. These obligations usually are not enforceable against individuals. 

Issues in NV Algemene Transport- en Expeditie Onderneming van Gend en Loos v Nederlandse Administratie der Belastingen (26/62),

  • The issue before the courts was whether Article 30 had direct application within the Dutch legal system or have an internal effect.
  • Whether the European Community treaty gave rights and whether a legal person could rely on the given rights in the same manner as a natural person.

Held by the Court of Justice

  • Held that Article 30 was effective.
  • “this Treaty is more than an agreement creating only mutual obligations between the contracting parties”.

Judge-Rapporteur Charles Léon Hammes

  • European Court of Justice: “If the Commission considers that a Member State has failed to fulfil an obligation under this Treaty, it shall deliver a reasoned opinion on the matter after giving the State concerned the opportunity to submit its observations. ‘If the State concerned does not comply with the opinion within the period laid down by the Commission, the latter may bring the matter before the Court of Justice.’”
  • The European Court of Justice found in favour of C. It was held that the European treaties did give rise to legal and natural persons interchangeably. The Court confirmed that these obligations are rights.

Editor’s Notes

  • This case provided that European Law could be used and enforced by individuals through the medium of national court systems of Member States rather than  making the European Commission bring actions against the state for failure to adhere to international rights and obligations.