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Social Europe

Political answers to judicial problems? Europe after Viking, Laval and Rüffert

on July 18, 2008, 13:03

© Tous droits réservés par Kati Giblin

Contribution by Martin Höpner to the on-line debate launched by Notre Europe and ETUI on the Viking, Laval and Rüffert ECJ cases

The Viking (2007), Laval (2007) and Rufert (2008) rulings are further steps in a long history of judicially imposed European liberalization. From a German perspective, besides the effective liberalization of public services, the liquidation of the monopoly of the former Federal Employment Office and restrictions on both public banking and public broadcasting are noteworthy examples (for detailed discussions, see the writings of Fritz Scharpf). In its company law rulings on Centros (1999), Uberseering (2002) and Inspire Art (2003), the ECJ forbid Member States to apply the so-called seat-of-administration rule (which implied that the company law of the state in which a firm was domiciled, rather than the law of the nation in which it was incorporated, had to be imposed on firms) - with as yet unforeseeable consequences for German supervisory board codetermination.

In October 2007, the ECJ ruled that the Volkswagengesetz that protected the automobile manufacturer against hostile takeovers constituted an unlawful restriction on the free flow of capital.(..)

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