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Purely Internal Situations and the Limits of EU Law: A Consolidated Case Law or a Notion to be Abandoned?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 March 2018

Abstract

Purely internal situations – Fundamental freedoms – Attribution of powers – Ullens de Schooten – Reverse discrimination – Non-discriminatory obstacles – EU citizenship – Preliminary rulings – Jurisdiction of the Court of Justice – Conditions of admissibility of preliminary references

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Copyright © The Authors 2018 

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Footnotes

*

Référendaire ECJ. PhD U. Complutense; LLM Yale Law School. All the opinions expressed are purely those of the author.

References

1 See, e.g., Opinions of AG Sharpston, ECJ 28 June 2007, Case C-212/06, Gouvernement de la Communauté française and Gouvernement wallon, point 141 ff and ECJ 30 September 2010, Case C-34/09, Ruiz Zambrano, point 135 ff.

2 See generally on this discussion Mataija, M., ‘Internal situations in Community Law: an Uncertain Safeguard of Competences within the Internal Market’, 5 CYELP (2009) p. 31 Google Scholar. See also, Papadopoulou, R.-E., ‘Situations purement internes et droit communautaire: instrument jurisprudentiel à double fonction ou arme à double tranchant?’, 38 Cahiers de droit européen (2002) p. 95 at p. 114Google Scholar.

3 ECJ 15 November 2016, Case C-268/15, Ullens de Schooten.

4 ECJ 28 March 1979, Case 175/78, Saunders, para. 11.

5 Ibid., para. 12.

6 See generally Mataija, supra n. 2, p. 31.

7 See in particular Shuibhne, N. Nic, ‘Free Movement of Persons and the Wholly Internal rule: time to Move On?’, 39 CML Rev (2002) p. 731 Google Scholar.

8 See for this discussion Shuibhne, N. Nic, The Coherence of EU Free Movement Law. Constitutional Responsibility and the Court of Justice (Oxford University Press 2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar p. 124 ff.

9 E.g. ECJ 19 October 2004, Case C-200/02, Zhu and Chen; ECJ 11 July 2002, Case C-60/00, Carpenter.

10 E.g. ECJ 7 February 1979, Case 115/78, Knoors; ECJ 7 July 1992, Case C-370/90, Singh; ECJ 31 March 1993, Case C-19/92 Kraus; or ECJ 11 December 2007, C-291/05, Eind.

11 E.g. ECJ 10 May 1995, Case C-384/93, Alpine Investments; ECJ 15 December 1995, Case C-415/93, Bosman or ECJ 10 February 2009, Case C-110/05, Commission v Italy (trailers).

12 See on this discussion, de Sousa, P. Caro, ‘Catch Me if You Can? The Market Freedoms’ Ever-expanding Outer Limits’, 4 European Journal of Legal Studies (2011) p. 162 at p. 164 ffGoogle Scholar.

13 Saunders, supra n. 4, para. 10.

14 Ibid.

15 ECJ 28 October 1975, Case 36/75, Rutili.

16 See, for a general study, Tryfonidou, A., Reverse Discrimination in EC Law (Wolters Kluwer 2009)Google Scholar.

17 E.g. ECJ 1 April 2008, Case C-212/06, Gouvernement de la Communauté française and Gouvernement wallon. See Van Elsuwege, P. and Adam, S., ‘The Limits of Constitutional Dialogue for the Prevention of Reverse Discrimination. Constitutional Court, Judgment 11/2009 of 21 January 2009’, 5 EuConst (2009) p. 327 Google Scholar.

18 See, e.g. the Opinion of AG Poiares Maduro, ECJ 6 May 2004, Case C-72/03, Carbonati Apuani or the Opinion of AG Sharpston in Ruiz Zambrano, supra n. 1. The doctrinal discussion is extremely broad. See e.g. Cannizzaro, E., ‘Producing “Reverse Discrimination” Through the Exercise of EC Competences’, 17 Yearbook of European Law (1997) p. 29 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Hanf, D., ‘“Reverse Discrimination” in EU Law: Constitutional Aberration, Constitutional Necessity, or Judicial Choice’, 18 Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law (2011) p. 29 ; Kon, S.D., ‘Aspects of Reverse Discrimination in Community Law’, 6 EL Rev (1981) p. 75 ; Pickup, D.M.W., ‘Reverse Discrimination and Freedom of Movement for Workers’, 23 CML Rev (1986) p. 135 ; Maduro, M. Poiares, ‘The Scope of European remedies: the Case of Pure Internal Situations and Reverse Discrimination’, in C. Kilpatrick, T. Novitz and P. Skidmore (eds.), The Future of Remedies in Europe (Hart 2000) p. 117 .

19 See e.g. ECJ 7 February 1984, Case 237/82, Jongeneel Kaas; ECJ 18 February 1987, Case C-98/86, Mathot; ECJ 5 June 1997, Joined Cases C-64/96 and C-65/96, Uecker and Jacquet; or ECJ 25 July 2008, Case C-127/08, Metock.

20 ECJ 21 February 2013, Case C-111/12, Ordine degli Ingegneri di Verona e Provincia, para. 22.

21 See, e.g. Kochenov, D., ‘Equality Across the Legal Orders; or Voiding EU Citizenship of Content’, in E Guild, C. Gortázar Rotaeche and D. Kostakopoulou (eds.), The Reconceptualisation of European Union Citizenship (Nijhoff Brill 2014) p. 301 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

22 See, regarding measures adopted on the basis of the fundamental freedoms and on ex Art 100A of the EEC Treaty, ECJ 5 October 2000, Case C-376/98, Germany v Parliament and Council, para. 99. The argument of reverse discrimination has also been adduced (without success) by member states in annulment actions, ECJ 7 November 2000, C-168/98, Luxembourg v Parliament and Council.

23 See e.g. ECJ 23 October 2008, Case C-286/06, Commission v Spain, para. 52. See also, on a related note, ECJ 1 December 2011, Case C-250/08, Commission v Belgium and ECJ 11 October 2016, C-601/14, Commission v Italy.

24 Opinion of 10 March 2010, Case C-393/08, Sbarigia, points 31-35.

25 E.g. ECJ 8 December 1987, Case 20/87, Gauchard, para. 12; ECJ 23 April 1991, Case C-41/90, Höfner and Elser para. 37; ECJ 28 January 1992, Case C-332/90, Steen, para. 9; ECJ 19 March 1992, Case C-60/91, Batista Morais, para. 8; ECJ 16 February 1996, Joined Cases C-29/94 to C-35/94, Aubertin, para. 11.

26 E.g. ECJ 5 April 2004, Case C-3/02, Mosconi et Ordine degli Ingegneri di Verona e Provincia (operative part) and ECJ 19 June 2008, Case C-104/08, Kurt, para. 24 (orders).

27 See e.g. ECJ 30 January 2014, Case C-122/13, C, para. 18 (order); ECJ 15 October 2014, Case C-246/14, De Bellis e.a., paras. 19 and 20 (order); ECJ 12 May 2016, Joined Cases C-692/15 to C-694/15, Security Service, paras. 29-31 (order).

28 E.g. ECJ 3 July 2014, Case C-92/14, Tudoran e.a., para. 42 (order); ECJ 1 June 2010, Joined Cases C-570/07 and C-571/07, Blanco Pérez and Chao Gómez, paras. 33-42; ECJ 19 July 2012, Case C-470/11, Garkalns, paras. 16-22.

29 E.g. ECJ 22 December 2010, Case C-245/09, Omalet, paras. 18 and 19; ECJ 20 March 2014, Case C-139/12, Caixa d’Estalvis i Pensions de Barcelona, paras. 47 and 48; ECJ 13 February 2014, Joined Cases C-162/12 and C-163/12, Airport Shuttle Express, paras. 50 and 51.

30 E.g. ECJ 30 June 2016, Case C-464/15, Admiral Casinos & Entertainment, para. 20 and the case law cited therein.

31 Ibid., para. 21 and case law cited therein.

32 E.g. ECJ 5 December 2000, Case C-448/98, Guimont, para. 23; ECJ 5 March 2002, Joined Cases C-515/99, C-519 to C-524/99 and C-526/99 to C-540/99, Reisch, para. 26; ECJ 11 September 2003, Case C-6/01, Anomar, para. 41; ECJ 30 March 2006, Case C-451/03, Servizi Ausiliari Dottori Commercialisti, para. 29; ECJ 5 December 2006, Joined Cases C-94/04 and C-202/04, Cipolla, para. 30; Blanco Pérez and Chao Gómez, supra n. 28, para. 39.

33 Opinion of AG Geelhoed in Joined Cases C-515/99 and C-527/99 to C-540/99, Reisch, point 87.

34 The origin of this jurisprudential line is usually situated in ECJ 15 December 1982, Case 286/81, Oosthoek’s Uitgeversmaatschappij, para. 9.

35 In fact, many judgments allude to both hypotheses. E.g. Blanco Pérez and Chao Gómez, supra n. 28, paras. 39 and 40; ECJ 5 December 2013, Joined Cases C-159/12 to C-161/12, Venturini, paras. 25-28; ECJ 13 February 2014, Case C-367/12, Sokoll-Seebacher, paras. 10-12; ECJ 12 December 2013, Case C-327/12, Soa Nazionale Costruttori, paras. 47 and 49.

36 E.g. case law cited in supra n. 35 as well as ECJ 18 July 2013, Case C-265/12, Citroën Belux, para. 32 ff and case law cited therein.

37 ECJ 18 October 1990, Cases C-297/88 and C-197/89, Dzodzi, paras. 36-41. This line of case law has its origin in ECJ 26 September 1985, Case 166/84, Thomasdünger.

38 Case C-28/95, Leur-Bloem, point 47 (Opinion).

39 E.g. ECJ 15 May 2003, Case C-300/01, Salzmann, paras. 33 and 34; ECJ 15 January 2002, Case C-43/00, Andersen og Jensen, paras. 17 and 18.

40 See Thomasdünger, supra n. 37; ECJ 8 November 1990, C-231/89, Gmurzynska-Bscher, para. 37; ECJ 24 January 1991, Case C-384/89, Tomatis; ECJ 11 January 2001, Case C-1/99, Kofisa Italia, para. 32; ECJ 17 July 1997, Case C-130/95, Giloy; ECJ 29 April 2004, Case C-222/01, British American Tobacco, para. 40; ECJ 3 December 1998, Case C-247/97, Schoonbroodt, para. 14; or ECJ 17 March 2005, Case C-170/03, Feron, para. 11.

41 ECJ 12 November 1992, Case C-73/89, Fournier; ECJ 25 June 1992, Case C-88/91, Federconsorzi.

42 ECJ 14 December 2006, Case C-217/05, Confederación Española de Empresarios de Estaciones de Servicio, para. 19; ECJ 11 December 2007, Case C-280/06, ETI, para. 21.

43 ECJ 16 March 2006, Case C-3/04, Poseidon Chartering, paras. 15-17; ECJ 20 May 2010, Case C-352/08, Modehuis A. Zwijnenburg, para. 32 ff; ECJ 22 December 2008, Case C-48/07, Les Vergers du Vieux Tauves, para. 19 ff; ECJ 18 October 2012, Case C-603/10, Pelati, para. 17 ff; ECJ 19 October 2017, Case C-295/16, Europamur Alimentación, paras. 29-32.

44 E.g. ECJ 2 March 2010, Joined Cases C-175/08, C-176/08, C-178/08 and C-179/08, Salahadin Abdulla, paras. 47-49.

45 ECJ 14 March 2013, Case C-32/11, Allianz Hungária Biztosító, para. 20 and case law cited.

46 See discussion below, nn. 96 and 101.

47 E.g. ECJ 21 June 2012, Case C-84/11, Susisalo, paras. 20-21; Ordine degli Ingegneri di Verona e Provincia, supra n. 20, para. 34.

48 Omalet, supra n. 29, para. 16.

49 E.g. C, supra n. 27, para. 17 (order); Tudoran e.a., supra n. 28, paras. 41-42.

50 ECJ 28 March 1995, Case C-346/93, Kleinwort Benson, para. 16. On the strict application of the criteria laid down by that case law, see the Opinion of AG Cruz Villalón of 25 October 2012, Case C-32/11, Allianz Hungária Biztosító, point 20 ff.

51 E.g. ECJ 7 July 2011, Case C-310/10, Agafiţei, para. 28 ff; ECJ 21 December 2011, Case C-482/19, Cicala, para. 23 ff; ECJ 7 November 2013, C-313/12, Romeo, para. 26; ECJ 18 October 2012, Case C-583/10, Nolan, paras. 47 and 48; ECJ 9 September 2014, Case C-488/13, Parva Investitsionna Banka e.a., para. 30 ff (order); C, supra n. 27, para. 15 (order); ECJ 19 October 2017, Case C-303/16, Solar Electric Martinique, paras. 25 and 26; ECJ 12 May 2016, Case C-281/15, Sahyouni, paras. 28-31 (order). However, the possibility for the referring court to pose a new question and give further clarification remains open. See, e.g. with regard to that later case, a follow up case, in which AG Saugmandsgaard Øe delivered his opinion considering that the connecting factor is given (opinion delivered 14 September 2017 Case C-372/16, Sahyouni).

52 The national rule at issue provided that clinical biology laboratories must be operated by persons authorised to provide clinical biology services in order to be approved by the Minister for Public Health and to receive payments from National Institute for Sickness and Invalidity Insurance.

53 ECJ 12 February 1987, Case C-221/85, Commission v Belgium.

54 As pointed out by Dubout, E., ‘Voyage en eaux troubles: vers une épuration des situations ‘purement’ internes. CJEU, gde ch., 15 novembre 2016, Ullens de Schooten, aff. C-268/15’, 4 Revue des affaires européennes (2016) p. 679 at p. 680Google Scholar.

55 ECtHR 20 September 2011, Ullens de Schooten and Rezabek v Belgium (CE:ECHR:2011:0920JUD000398907).

56 The other questions referred related to the issue of time limitations on national law and the principles of effectiveness and equivalence; the principles of primacy and sincere cooperation and the principle of res judicata of judicial decisions contrary to EU law.

57 This question was, however, addressed by the Opinion of AG Bot of 16 June 2016, point 61 ff. He concluded that the provisions at issue were compatible with Art. 43 EC.

58 Ullens de Schooten, supra n. 3, paras. 39-42.

59 Ullens de Schooten, supra n. 3, paras. 41 and 46, referring to ECJ 19 November 1991, Joined Cases C-6/90 and C-9/90, Francovich, para. 35 and ECJ 5 March 1996, Joined Cases C-46/93 and C-48/93, Brasserie du Pêcheur and Factortame, paras. 31 and 51.

60 Ullens de Schooten, supra n. 3, para. 47.

61 Ullens de Schooten, supra n. 3, paras. 48-49.

62 Ullens de Schooten, supra n. 3, paras. 50-53. See above.

63 ECJ 8 May 2013, Cases C-197/11 and C-203/11, Libert, para. 35.

64 Ullens de Schooten, supra n. 3, para. 51.

65 Ullens de Schooten, supra n. 3, para. 54.

66 Ibid.

67 Ullens de Schooten, supra n. 3, para. 55.

68 Ullens de Schooten, supra n. 3, para. 56.

69 Ullens de Schooten, supra n. 3, paras. 57-58.

70 See in this connection, D. Sarmiento, ‘The purely internal situation in free movement rules – Some clarity at last from the ECJ’, 16 November 2016 (available at <despiteourdifferencesblog.wordpress.com>).

71 Nic Shuibhne, supra n. 8, p. 116.

72 See, extensively on this issue e.g. Papadopoulou, supra n. 2, p. 196 ff; Whatelet, M. et al., ‘Situations purement internes, discriminations à rebours et fiscalité’, 6 Revue Générale du Contentieux Fiscal (2011) p. 465 Google Scholar; Cheynel, B., ‘Les “situations purement internes” à la lumière de l’arrêt Libert e.a.’, 2 Revue des affaires européennes (2013) p. 405 at p. 409; Martucci, F., ‘Situations purement interne et libertés de circulation’, in E. Dubout, A. Maitrot de la Motte (eds.), L’unité des libertés de circulation - In varietate concordia? (Bruylant 2013) p. 43 .

73 See, with regard to tariff obstacles: ECJ 16 July 1992, Case C-163/90, Legros; ECJ 30 April 1998, Joined Cases C-37/96 and C-38/96, Sodiprem; or ECJ 8 November 2005, Case C-293/02, Jersey Produce Marketing Organisation. For non-tariff obstacles, see ECJ 14 July 1988, Case C-298/87, Smanor; ECJ 7 May 1997, Joined Cases C-321/94 to C-324/94, Pistre; Guimont, supra n. 32. See on this issue Oliver, P.Some further reflections on the scope of articles 28-30 (ex 330-36) EC’, 36 CML Rev (1999) p. 783 Google Scholar; Oliver, P. and Enchelmaier, S., ‘Free Movement of Goods: Recent Developments in the Case-law’, 44 CML Rev (2007) p. 649 ; Tryfonidou, A., ‘The Outer Limits of Article 28 EC: Purely Internal Situations and the Development of the Court’s Approach through the Years’, in C. Barnard and O. Odudu, The Outer Limits of European Union Law (Hart 2009) p. 197 .

74 See, for a critical view of this geographical approach, Poiares Maduro, supra n. 18, p. 125 and the literature discussed therein.

75 See e.g. Opinion of AG Geelhoed in Reisch, supra n. 33, point 88, stating that ‘it is the nature and substance of the national measure that determine whether the Court answers questions referred to it for a preliminary ruling, not the facts in the main proceedings’.

76 Pistre, supra n. 73, para. 44.

77 Declaring that ‘citizenship of the Union is not intended to extend the material scope of the Treaty to internal situations which have no link with Community law’ see e.g. Gouvernement de la Communauté française and Gouvernement wallon, supra n. 17, para. 39 and case law cited therein.

78 See ECJ 13 September 2016, Case C-304/14, CS, para. 23; ECJ 5 May 2011, Case C-434/09, McCarthy, para. 46; ECJ 15 November 2011, Case C-256/11, Dereci, para. 61; ECJ 6 December 2012, Case C-356/11, O, and C-357/11, para. 43; Zhu and Chen, supra n. 9, para. 19. See also Ruiz Zambrano, supra n. 1, para. 42 and ECJ 2 March 2010, Case C-135/08, Rottmann, para. 42. Similarly, the fact that a citizen acquires nationality in the host member state cannot be treated either as a purely domestic situation, ECJ 14 November 2017, Case C-165/16, Lounes, para. 49.

79 See, e.g. on that debate, Hailbronner, M. and Sánchez, S. Iglesias, ‘The European Court of Justice and Citizenship of the European Union: New Developments Towards a Truly Fundamental Status’, 5 Vienna Journal on International Constitutional Law (2011) p. 498 Google Scholar.

80 E.g. ECJ 14 November 2013, Case C-478/12, Maletic; Parva Investitsionna Banka, supra n. 51; ECJ 7 June 2012, Case C-27/11, Vinkov.

81 See, in this connection, Poiares Maduro, supra n. 18, p. 121.

82 Lenaerts, K. et al., EU Procedural Law (Oxford University Press 2014) p. 239 Google Scholar, note 126. For this discussion see also Mataija, supra n. 2, p. 31.

83 Referring generally to situations which did not materially or temporally fall within the scope of EU law, but where the rule at issue did not entail or require a cross border connection, e.g. ECJ 8 November 2012, Case C-271/11, Techniko Epimelitirio Elladas; 12 July 2012, ECJ Case C-602/10, SC Volksbank România; ECJ 9 November 2010, Joined Cases C-57/09 and C-101/09, B and D; Salahadin Abdulla, supra n. 44; or ECJ 17 December 1998, Case C-2/97, IP.

84 See, e.g. ECJ 13 July 2000, Case C-456/98, Centrosteel, para. 13; ECJ 20 May 2003, Joined Cases C-465/00, C-138/01 and C-139/01, Österreichischer Rundfunk, paras. 41-42; ECJ 6 November 2003, Case C-101/01, Lindqvist, paras. 40-41; ECJ 17 November 2015, Case C-115/14, RegioPost, paras. 49-51. See, generally, Mataija, supra n. 2, p. 36 ff.

85 Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market (OJ 2006 L 376, p. 36).

86 See especially the Opinions of AG Szpunar in Cases C-360/15 and C-31/16, X and Visser, and in Joined Cases C-340/14 and C-341/14, Trijber and Harmsen. It is also to be noted that even though all the facts were confined within a member state, the Court did not address the issue of the applicability of the directive to purely internal situations, and gave a response to the question posed in ECJ 16 November 2016, Case C-316/15, Hemming. For this discussion see Davies, G., ‘The Services Directive: Extending the Country of Origin Principle and Reforming Public Administration’, 32 European Law Review (2007) p. 241 Google Scholar; Barnard, C., ‘Unravelling the Services Directive’, 45 CML Rev (2008) p. 352 ; Hatzopoulos, V., ‘The Court’s Approach to Services (2006-2012): From Case Law to Caseload?’, 50 CML Rev (2013) p. 462 ; Faustinelli, E., ‘Purely Internal Situations and the Freedom of Establishment Within the Context of the Services Directive’, 44 Legal Issues of Economic Integration (2017) p. 87 .

87 For one of the latest systematisation attempts, see, Opinion of AG Bobek of 7 September 2017 in Case C-298/16, Ispas, point 20 ff.

88 See on this debate, Opinions of AG Wahl in Venturini, supra n. 35, point 18 ff and in Case C-497/12, Gullotta and Farmacia di Gullotta Davide & C, points 16-25. See also Opinion of AG Szpunar in X and Visser, supra n. 86, para. 115.

89 See, particularly, the Opinion of AG Wahl in Gullotta and Farmacia di Gullotta Davide & C, supra n. 88, point 17 ff.

90 ECJ 17 July 1997, Case C-28/95, Leur-Bloem, para. 25; or more recently, Salahadin Abdulla, supra n. 44, para. 48.

91 E.g. Opinion of AG Wahl in Gullotta and Farmacia di Gullotta Davide & C, supra n. 88, point 31.

92 Ullens de Schooten, supra n. 3, paras. 39-44. See also ECJ 27 October 2009, Case C-115/08, ČEZ, para. 67; SC Volksbank România, supra n. 83, para. 51.

93 Putting forward this question, F. Picod, ‘Libre circulation et situation interne’, 1 Revue des Affaires Européennes (2003-2004) p. 47 at p. 50. This is to be distinguished from cases where infringements are declared on the basis of a national rule which may be contrary to EU law only insofar as it affects situations covered by the fundamental freedoms (but that would arguably remain unproblematic with regard to situations not covered by EU law). See, in this connection, Due, O. and Gulmann, C., ‘Restrictions à la libre circulation intracommunautaire et situations purement internes’, in N. Colnerick et al. (eds.), Une comunauté de droit. Festschrift für Gil Carlos Rodríguez Iglesias (Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag 2003) p. 377 at p. 380Google Scholar.

94 That is the case for the ‘Libert’-type cases identified in Ullens de Schooten, supra n. 3, para. 51, (Libert, supra n. 63). See also ECJ 21 September 2017, Case C 125/16, Malta Dental Technologists Association and Reynaud, para. 30.

95 See Opinion of AG Bot, Case C-268/15, Ullens de Schooten, points 50-52.

96 Opinions of AG Wahl in Venturini, supra n. 35, and in Gullotta and Farmacia di Gullotta Davide & C, supra n. 88, as well as the Opinion of AG Kokott in Cases C-162/12, C-419/12 and C-420/12, Crono Service.

97 It has been argued by some authors that the Guimont/Dzodzi lines follow a similar rationale and that similar constraints and limitations should be present in both, see, e.g., proposing that the Guimont approach be abandoned and subsumed by the Dzodzi approach, Ritter, C., ‘Purely Internal Situations, Reverse Discrimination, Guimont, Dzodzi and Article 234’, EL Rev (2006) p. 690 Google Scholar.

98 Ullens de Schooten, supra n. 3, para. 57.

99 Ullens de Schooten, supra n. 3, para. 56. See, in this regard, Dubout, supra n. 54, p. 679.

100 ECJ 5 October 2010, C-173/09, Elchinov, para. 29 and case law cited therein.

101 Opinion of AG Darmon in Gmurzynska-Bscher, supra n. 40, point 7; Opinion of AG Darmon in Dzodzi, supra n. 37; Opinion of AG Tesauro in Case C-346/93, Kleinwort Benson; Opinion of AG Jacobs in Case C-28/95, Leur-Bloem, para. 63; Opinion of AG Ruiz-Jarabo Colomer in Case C-1/99 and C-226/99, Kofisa Italia, paras. 38-39; Opinion of AG Saggio in Case C-448/98, Guimont, point 7; Opinion of AG Jacobs in C-306/99, BIAO. See extensively on this discussion, A. Barav, Etudes sur le renvoi préjudiciel dans le droit de l’Union européenne (Bruylant 2011) p. 227 ff. See also Kaleda, S.L., ‘Extension of the preliminary rulings procedure outside the scope of Community law: “The Dzodzi line of cases’, 4 European Integration on line Papers (2000)Google Scholar. Other problems in this regard have also been put forward, e.g. whether there is an obligation to have recourse for it under the case law on Art 267 TFEU, the impact in validity questions or the potential for judicial infringements. See generally Opinion of AG Ruiz-Jarabo Colomer in Cases C-1/99 and C-226/99, Kofisa Italia, para. 40 and Opinion of AG Jacobs in Case C-28/95, Leur-Bloem, para. 64.

102 See Fournier, supra n. 41, para. 23.

103 E.g. order of 26 April 2002, C-454/00, VIS Farmaceutici Istituto scientifico delle Venezie, paras. 22-24; order of 3 September 2015, C-456/14, Orrego Arias, para. 24; 7 January 2003, C-306/99, BIAO, paras. 92 and 93.

104 As one author has put it, there is a difference between cases like Lancry or Ruiz Zambrano, where EU law is applicable, and the cases concerning the ‘exceptions’ mentioned in Ullens de Schooten, where EU law can be invoked without being applicable: Dubout, supra n. 54, p. 683. Also, those cases could be qualified as purely internal ‘in appearance’: see Potvin-Solis, L., ‘Qualification des situations purement internes’, in E. Neframi (ed.), Renvoi préjudiciel et marge d’appréciation du juge national (Larcier 2015) p. 41 at p. 55Google Scholar.

105 The Court has only rarely expressly limited the value of its response or given a differentiated answer. See Smanor, supra n. 73, or Gouvernement de la Communauté française and Gouvernement wallon, supra n. 17.

106 Ullens de Schooten, supra n. 3, para. 46.

107 It is indeed striking that the Court seems only to consider the ‘reverse discrimination’ (Guimont) and the ‘renvoi’ (Dzodzi) exceptions (Ullens de Schooten, supra n. 3, para. 56). First, because, as the Advocate General signalled, the Guimont approach was explicitly precluded by national case law. Second, because the relevant point seemed to be the potential effect on cross-border actors. See, in this regard, Dubout, supra n. 54, p. 688.

108 Ullens de Schooten, supra n. 3, para. 57.

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Purely Internal Situations and the Limits of EU Law: A Consolidated Case Law or a Notion to be Abandoned?
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