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‘New’ Social Democracy before the Court of Justice

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 October 2017

Extract

Community law has seen some of the fiercest battles over ‘new’ social democracy and ‘Third Way’ politics. To simplify somewhat, the core idea of the Third Way is to rely on the market to provide services to the public efficiently, without however disconnecting them from certain key social values. In the Community legal order, these social policy devices invite the application of the Community’s economic jurisdiction, where public services can be classified as ‘market’ services. They frequently lead to what Joerges has labelled ‘diagonal’ conflicts between the Community’s economic law and its competence to uphold the EU Internal Market, and the Member States’ individual choice, and competence, to administer their welfare states. In ‘diagonal’ conflict situations, a single set of facts is analysed via two different ‘logics’, one following the economic perspective of the Internal Market, and the other marking the Member State’s political and social competence, where states are regularly guided by a more diffuse set of values, including public and constitutional rights, and practical political pressures. Whilst states may well invite the market into their welfare state, for example as part of a political ‘third way’ solution, the national electorate, who will ultimately hold public authorities accountable, are likely to concentrate their judgement on the realisation of substantive public service targets rather than how they have been achieved.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Centre for European Legal Studies, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge 2006

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References

1 Joerges, CThe Impact of European Integration on Private Law: Reductionist Perceptions, True Conflicts and a New Constitutional Perspective’ (1997) 3 European Law Journal 378 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

2 The Economist, 19 December 1998, 47–9: cited in Pollack, M ‘Blairism in Brussels: The “Third Way” in Europe Since Amsterdam’, University of Winsconsin Working Paper, 1999, www.polisci.wisc.edu/~pollack/blairism, viewed 24 April 2006.

3 On 23 June 2005.

4 Commission ‘Working together for growth and jobs. A new start for the Lisbon strategy’, Communication to the Spring European Council, COM(2005)24.

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7 Ibid at 23.

8 Scheuerman, WDemocratic Experimentalism or Capitalist Synchronization? Critical Reflections on Directly-Deliberative Polyarchy’ [2004] Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 101 Google Scholar.

9 Giddens, A, above n 6, 44.

10 Quoted in Pollack, M, above n 2, 5.

11 Blair, T, above n 5, 4.

12 Commission, ‘White Paper on Services of General Interest’, Communication of the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, COM(2004)374, 3.

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15 Davies, A, above n 14, 811.

16 Blair, T, above n 5.

17 Pollack, M, above n 2, 4.

18 For an excellent discussion of the Third Way’s position between market-liberalist and social-liberalist political theory, see Vick, DRegulatory Convergence?’ (2006) 26 Legal Studies 26 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; see also Mullender, RTheorizing the Third Way: Qualified Consequentialism, the Proportionality Principle and the New Social Democracy’ (2000) 27 Journal of Law & Society 493 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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20 A point made in the context of Art 86 EC and proportionality by Edwards, D and Hoskins, MArticle 90: Deregulation and EC Law’ (1995) 32 CMLRev 157, 170 Google Scholar.

21 Joined Cases C–159/91 and 160/91, Poucet and Pistre v Assurances Générales de France [1993] ECR I–637; Case C–244/94, Fédération Française des Sociétés d’Assurances (FFSA) v Ministère de l’Agriculture et de la Pêche [1995] ECR I–4013; Case C–67/96 Albany International BV v Stichting Bedriifspensioenfonds Textielindustrie [1999] ECR I–575; Case C–180–184/98, Pavlov v Stichting Pensionenfonds Medische Specialisten [2000] ECR I–6451; Case C–218/00, Cisal di Battistello Venanzio & Co v Istituto Nazionale per l’Assicurazione Control Gli fortune Sul Lavoro (INAIL) [2002] ECR I–691; Joined Cases C–264/01, C–306/01, C–354/01 and C–355/01, AOK Bundesverband v. Ichthyol-Gesellschaft Cordes, Hermani & Co [2004] ECR I–2493. See Hervey, TSocial Solidarity: A Buttress against Market Law?’ in Shaw, J (ed) Social Law and Policy in an Evolving European Union (Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2000) 31 Google Scholar.

22 Opinion of AG Poiares Maduro in Case C–205/03 P, Federacion Nacional de Empresas de Instrumentacion Cientifica, Medica, Tecnica y Dental (FENIN) v Commission, delivered on 10 November 2005, para 52.

23 Joined Cases C–264/01, C–306/01, C–354/01 and C–355/01, AOK Bundesverband v. Ichthyol-Gesellschaft Cordes, Hermani & Co [2004] ECR I–2493, para 30.

24 Case C–41/90, Höfner and Elser v Macrotron GmbH [1991] ECR I–1979, para 21.

25 Ibid, at paras 22–31.

26 Cases C–147–148/97, Deutsche Post AG v Gesellschaft für Zahlungssysteme [2000] ECR I–825, paras 48–49.

27 Case C–475/99 Ambulanz Glöckner v Landkreis Südwestpfalz [2001] ECR I–8089, paras 39 and 43.

28 Cases C–147–148/97, Deutsche Post AG v Gesellschaft für Zahlungssysteme [2000] ECR I–825, para 48; Case C–475/99, Ambulanz Glöckner v. Landkreis Südwestpfalz [2001] ECR I–8089, paras 39 and 43.

29 Edwards, D, and Hoskins, M, above n 20.

30 Commission, above n 12, at 3.

31 Joined Cases C–264/01, C–306/01, C–354/01 and C–355/01, AOK Bundesverband v Ichthyol-Gesellschaft Cordes, Hermani & Co [2004] ECR I–2493.

32 Opinion of AG Jacobs, Joined Cases C–264/01, C–306/01, C–354/01 and C–355/01, AOK Bundesverband v Ichthyol-Gesellschaft Cordes, Hermani & Co [2004] ECR I–2493, delivered on 22 May 2003, para 55.

33 Ibid, at para 59.

34 Case T–319/99, Federacion Nacional de Empresas de Instrumentacion Cientifica, Medica, Tecnica y Dental (FENIN) v Commission [2003] ECR II–357.

35 Ibid, at para 36.

36 Ibid, at para 37.

37 Opinion of AG Poiares Maduro, Case C–205/03 P, Federacion Nacional de Empresas de Instrumentacion Cientifica, Medica, Tecnica y Dental (FENIN) v Commission, delivered on 10 November 2005, paras 58 to 69. The most important passages can be found at paras 65, 67 and 68.

38 Ibid, at para 68.

39 See above n 21.

40 Case T–319/99, Federacion Nacional de Empresas de Instrumentacion Cientifica, Medica, Tecnica y Dental (FENIN) v Commission [2003] ECR II–357, para 15.

41 Ibid, at para 21.

42 For example, the usual definition of ‘undertaking’, which is normally determined by looking at the nature of the function or activity. See above n 24.

43 Case C–185/91 Reiff [1993] ECR I–5801; Case C–35/96, Commission v Italy [1998] ECR I–3851; Joined Cases C-180-184/98, Pavlov and Others [2000] ECR I–6451.

44 Joined Cases C–264/01, C–306/01, C–354/01 and C–355/01, AOK Bundesverband v Ichthyol-Gesellschaft Cordes, Hermani & Co. [2004] ECR I–2493, para 63 (my emphasis).

45 Ibid at para 61.

46 Ibid.

47 Opinion of AG Jacobs, Joined Cases C–264/01, C–306/01, C–354/01 and C–355/01, AOK Bundesverband v Ichthyol-Gesellschaft Cordes, Hermani & Co [2004] ECR I–2493, delivered on 22 May 2003, paras 52–53.

48 Joined Cases C–264/01, C–306/01, C–354/01 and C–355/01, AOK Bundesverband v Ichthyol-Gesellschaft Cordes, Hermani & Co [2004] ECR I–2493, para 56. Emphasis added.

49 Ibid at para 56.

50 Opinion of AG Jacobs, Joined Cases C–264/01, C–306/01, C–354/01 and C–355/01, AOK Bundesverband v Ichthyol-Gesellschaft Cordes, Hermani & Co [2004] ECR I–2493, para 42.

51 Ibid at para 39.

52 Opinion of AG Poiares Maduro, Case C–205/03 P, Federacion Nacional de Empresas de Instrumentacion Cientifica, Medica, Tecnica y Dental (FENIN) v Commission, delivered on 10 November 2005, para 41.

53 Ibid at para 52.

54 Case C–120/595, Decker [1998] ECR I–1831; Case C–158/98, Kohll [1998] ECR I–1931; and Case C–157/99, Smits and Peerbooms [2001] ECR I–5473.

55 Opinion of AG Poiares Maduro, Case C–205/03 P, Federacion Nacional de Empresas de Instrumentacion Cientifica, Medica, Tecnica y Dental (FENIN) v Commission, delivered on 10 November 2005, para 51.

56 Case C–70/95, Sodemare v Regione Lombardia [1997] ECR I–3395.

57 Ibid at para 62.

58 Barnard, CEU Citizenship and the Principle of Solidarity’ in Dougan, M and Spaventa, E (eds) Social Welfare and the Law (Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2005) 165 Google Scholar.

59 Streeck, W ‘Competitive Solidarity: Rethinking the “European Social Model”’ Working Paper 99/8, Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung, 1999, avaiable at www.mpi-fg-koeln.mpg.de/pu/workpap/wp99-8/wp99-8.html, viewed 24 April 2006.

60 Opinion of AG Poiares Maduro, Case C–205/03 P, Federacion Nacional de Empresas de Instrumentacion Cientifica, Medica, Tecnica y Dental (FENIN) v Commission, delivered on 10 November 2005, para 52.

61 Jones, A and Sufrin, B EC Competition Law 2nd edn (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004) 537 Google Scholar: these cases are ‘part of a policy . . . to remove the operation of the health services in the Member States from the application of competition law’. See also Slot, PApplying the Competition Rules in the Healthcare Sector’ (2003) 24 European Competition Law Review 580 Google Scholar and van de Gronden, JPurchasing Care: Economic Activity or Service of General Economic Interest?’ (2004) 25 European Competition Law Review 87 Google Scholar.

62 Opinion of AG Poiares Maduro, Case C–205/03 P, Federacion Nacional de Empresas de Instrumentacion Cientifica, Medica, Tecnica y Dental (FENIN) v Commission, delivered on 10 November 2005, para 68.

63 Opinion of AG Jacobs, Joined Cases C–264/01, C–306/01, C–354/01 and C–355/01, AOK Bundesverband v Ichthyol-Gesellschaft Cordes, Hermani & Co [2004] ECR I–2493, delivered on 22 May 2003, para 59.

64 It is possible to think of a scenario where the Courts, on balance, may find that unfair or anti-competitive state practice leads to a risk for the consumer by leaving the commercial supplier unable to provide its services satisfactorily. The UK Competition Tribunal recently found that an NHS Trust was, as an undertaking, bound by the UK Competition Act 1988 when it purchased nursing and residential home care services from its market contractor. The supplier had made serious complaints about the Trust’s contractual behaviour, which it alleged to have been ‘totally inequitable’. Amongst other things, the Trust made it ‘increasingly difficult, to the point of impossible, to provide the services required within the price [the Trusts] determine and this is placing Bettercare in the invidious position of either failing to provide services as required or operating at a continuous deficit’: Case 1006/2/1/01 BetterCare Group Limited v Director General of Fair Trading [2002] CAT 6, [2002] Comp AR 229.

65 Again, see ibid.

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