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Irish Occupied Territories Bill and public policy exemption

Question écrite de M. Chris MACMANUS - Commission européenne

Question de M. Chris MACMANUS,

Diffusée le 16 avril 2024

Subject: Irish Occupied Territories Bill and public policy exemption

In Ireland, a bill is proceeding through the Dáil that will restrict the movement of goods produced in illegal settlements in disputed territories.

1. Can the Commission outline the exemptions in relation to provisions on the free circulation of goods that allow for prohibitions, quantitative restrictions or surveillance measures on grounds of public morality, public policy or public security, and any relevant legislative provisions which underpin them?

2. Can the Commission also provide details of instances since 2007 when Member States have availed of these exemptions to impose such restrictions, and say whether they were challenged in court by the Commission and what the outcomes of these proceedings were?

Submitted:17.4.2024

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 23 mai 2024

Answer given by Mr Breton on behalf of the European Commission

(24 May 2024)

Articles 34 (1) and 35 (2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) prohibit quantitative restrictions on imports and exports of goods and measures having the equivalent effect of quantitative restrictions.

According to the Court of Justice of the EU, these are ‘all trading rules enacted by Member States which are capable of hindering, directly or indirectly, actually or potentially, intra-Community trade’ (3).

Measures can exceptionally be justified on one of the grounds of public interest laid down in Article 36 of the TFEU (4), or (for measures that apply without distinction of nationality) on one of the overriding requirements in the public interest stemming from the Court’s jurisprudence.

As exceptions to the fundamental principle of free movement of goods, such grounds are interpreted narrowly. National authorities, which seek to invoke such grounds, bear the burden of proof to demonstrate their legislation pursues, and is necessary to protect, the interest referred to and that the legislation complies with the principle of proportionality.

Concerning the grounds of public morality, public policy or public security, the Honourable Member is referred to Section 7.1.1 of the 2021 Commission Guide on Articles 34 to 36 of the TFEU, which contains examples of how these exceptions have been interpreted (5).

As regards instances since 2007 when Member States have sought to use these exemptions, the Honourable Member is referred, for example, to Case C-66/18 Commission v Hungary where the Hungarian authorities unsuccessfully tried to rely on the exception of public policy to restrict the provision of services in Hungary (6).

1 ∙ ⸱ https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:12016E034

2 ∙ ⸱ https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:12012E035

3 ∙ ⸱ Judgment of 11 July 1974, Procureur du Roi v Benoît and Gustave Dassonville, C-8/74, ECLI:EU:C:1974:82, paragraph 5.

4 ∙ ⸱ https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:12016E036

5 ∙ ⸱ C/2021/1457, OJ C 100, 23.3.2021, p. 38-89, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52021XC0323%2803%29

6 ∙ ⸱ Judgment of 6 October 2020, European Commission v Hungary, C-66/18, ECLI:EU:C:2020:792, paragraphs 178-183.











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