Important Judgment on the Principles of EU Law

A judgment on a reference for a recent preliminary ruling by the European Court of Justice has serious implications for the application of European Union law in the future.

In Case C‑555/07 (Kücükdeveci) the Court was asked to clarify the question of the application of the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of age. ECJ stated that the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of age is a general principle of European Union law in that it constitutes a specific application of the general principle of equal treatment.

The Court says that Directive 2000/78 “merely gives expression to, but does not lay down, the principle of equal treatment in employment and occupation, and that the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of age is a general principle of European Union law in that it constitutes a specific application of the general principle of equal treatment”.

This is really interesting, because the ECJ actually says that any directive can “give expression” to a general principle of EU law, and thus have horizontal direct effect.

Some commentators do not agree with the ECJ, and others think a battle between the ECJ and the German Constitutional Court is pending.

2 responses to “Important Judgment on the Principles of EU Law

  1. I agree that the ECJ and the German Constitutional court may be in conflict. But with its new powers under the Lisbon Treaty, the ECJ is likely to prevail. Specifics about the Court’s new powers can be found at http://www.translegal.com/blog/category/european-union.

  2. Pingback: New Case Note on Kücükdeveci « European Union Law

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