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Judgment of the Court of 16 December 1980. - Criminal proceedings against Anton Adriaan Fietje. - Reference for a preliminary ruling: Arrondissementsrechtbank Assen - Netherlands. - Mandatory description of alcoholic beverages. - Case 27/80.



European Court reports 1980 Page 03839

Greek special edition Page 00517



Summary

Parties

Subject of the case

Grounds

Decision on costs

Operative part

Keywords



1 . FREE MOVEMENT OF GOODS - QUANTITATIVE RESTRICTIONS - MEASURES HAVING EQUIVALENT EFFECT - RULES GOVERNING THE MARKETING OF A PRODUCT - DESCRIPTION AND LABELLING - PERMISSIBILITY - CONDITIONS AND LIMITS

2 . FREE MOVEMENT OF GOODS - QUANTITATIVE RESTRICTIONS - MEASURES HAVING EQUIVALENT EFFECT - MANDATORY DESCRIPTION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES - EXTENSION TO IMPORTED PRODUCTS - PROHIBITION - CRITERIA - ASSESSMENT BY THE NATIONAL COURT

( EEC TREATY , ART . 30 )

3 . FREE MOVEMENT OF GOODS - QUANTITATIVE RESTRICTIONS - MEASURES HAVING EQUIVALENT EFFECT - NATIONAL AUTHORITIES ' POWER TO GRANT EXEMPTION - NO EFFECT ON THE CLASSIFICATION OF A PROHIBITED MEASURE - PERMISSIBILITY IN THE CASE OF A MEASURE JUSTIFIED ON GROUNDS RECOGNIZED BY THE TREATY - LIMITS

( EEC TREATY , ARTS 30 AND 36 )

Summary



1 . IN THE ABSENCE OF COMMON RULES RELATING TO THE PRODUCTION AND MARKETING OF A PRODUCT , IT IS , IN PRINCIPLE , FOR THE MEMBER STATES TO REGULATE ALL MATTERS RELATING TO THE MARKETING OF THAT PRODUCT ON THEIR OWN TERRITORY , INCLUDING ITS DESCRIPTION AND LABELLING , SUBJECT TO ANY COMMUNITY MEASURE ADOPTED WITH A VIEW TO APPROXIMATING NATIONAL LAWS IN THESE FIELDS .

HOWEVER , IN ORDER TO EXAMINE THE COMPATIBILITY WITH COMMUNITY LAW OF NATIONAL RULES REQUIRING THE EMPLOYMENT OF A GIVEN DESCRIPTION FOR NATIONAL AND IMPORTED PRODUCTS , IT IS NECESSARY TO CONSIDER WHETHER THOSE RULES ARE CAPABLE OF IMPEDING THE FREE MOVEMENT OF GOODS BETWEEN MEMBER STATES AND , IF SO , TO WHAT EXTENT SUCH AN OBSTACLE IS JUSTIFIED ON THE GROUND OF THE PUBLIC INTEREST UNDERLYING THE NATIONAL RULES .

2 . THE EXTENSION BY A MEMBER STATE OF A PROVISION WHICH PROHIBITS THE SALE OF CERTAIN ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES UNDER A DESCRIPTION OTHER THAN THAT PRESCRIBED BY NATIONAL LAW TO BEVERAGES IMPORTED FROM OTHER MEMBER STATES , THEREBY MAKING IT NECESSARY TO ALTER THE LABEL UNDER WHICH THE IMPORTED BEVERAGE IS LAWFULLY MARKETED IN THE EXPORTING MEMBER STATE , IS TO BE CONSIDERED A MEASURE HAVING AN EFFECT EQUIVALENT TO A QUANTITATIVE RESTRICTION WHICH IS PROHIBITED BY ARTICLE 30 OF THE EEC TREATY AND WHICH IS NOT JUSTIFIED ON THE GROUND OF THE PUBLIC INTEREST IN CONSUMER PROTECTION IN SO FAR AS THE DETAILS GIVEN ON THE ORIGINAL LABEL SUPPLY THE CONSUMER WITH INFORMATION ON THE NATURE OF THE PRODUCT IN QUESTION WHICH IS EQUIVALENT TO THAT IN THE DESCRIPTION PRESCRIBED BY LAW .

IT IS FOR THE NATIONAL COURT TO MAKE THE FINDINGS OF FACT NECESSARY IN ORDER TO ESTABLISH WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS SUCH EQUIVALENCE .

3 . A MEASURE CAUGHT BY THE PROHIBITION PROVIDED FOR BY ARTICLE 30 OF THE EEC TREATY DOES NOT ESCAPE THIS PROHIBITION SIMPLY BECAUSE THE COMPETENT AUTHORITY IS EMPOWERED TO GRANT EXEMPTIONS , EVEN IF THIS POWER IS FREELY APPLIED TO IMPORTED PRODUCTS . ON THE OTHER HAND , IN THE CASE OF A MEASURE JUSTIFIED ON GROUNDS RECOGNIZED BY THE TREATY , THE TREATY DOES NOT FORBID IN PRINCIPLE PROVISION BEING MADE FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF GRANTING DEROGATIONS THEREFROM BY INDIVIDUAL DECISIONS LEFT TO THE DISCRETION OF THE ADMINISTRATION . HOWEVER , EXCEPTIONS MUST NOT LEAD TO THE FAVOURING OF DOMESTIC PRODUCTS BECAUSE THIS WOULD CONSTITUTE ARBITRARY DISCRIMINATION AGAINST OR A DISGUISED RESTRICTION ON PRODUCTS IMPORTED FROM OTHER MEMBER STATES .

Parties



IN CASE 27/80

REFERENCE TO THE COURT PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 177 OF THE EEC TREATY BY THE ECONOMISCHE POLITIERECHTER ( MAGISTRATE IN ECONOMIC MATTERS ) OF THE ARRONDISSEMENTSRECHTBANK ( DISTRICT COURT ) ASSEN FOR A PRELIMINARY RULING IN THE CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS PENDING BEFORE THAT COURT AGAINST

ANTON ADRIAAN FIETJE

Subject of the case



ON THE INTERPRETATION OF ARTICLE 30 OF THE EEC TREATY WITH A VIEW TO ENABLING THE COURT MAKING THE REFERENCE TO DECIDE ON THE COMPATIBILITY WITH THAT ARTICLE OF THE TREATY OF THE OBLIGATION , CONTAINED IN ARTICLE 1 OF THE ' ' LIKEURBESLUIT ' ' ( DECREE ON LIQUEURS ) OF 11 SEPTEMBER 1953 ( STAATSBLAD 466 ), TO USE THE WORD ' ' LIKEUR ' ' IN THE CASE OF THE GOODS THEREIN DEFINED ,

Grounds



1 BY A JUDGMENT OF 19 DECEMBER 1979 , WHICH WAS RECEIVED AT THE COURT ON 18 JANUARY 1980 , THE ECONOMISCHE POLITIERECHTER OF THE ARRONDISSEMENTSRECHTBANK ASSEN REFERRED TO THE COURT FOR A PRELIMINARY RULING UNDER ARTICLE 177 OF THE EEC TREATY A QUESTION ON THE INTERPRETATION OF ARTICLE 30 OF THE EEC TREATY WHICH A VIEW TO CONSIDERING THE COMPATIBILITY WITH COMMUNITY LAW OF ARTICLE 1 OF THE NETHERLANDS ' ' LIKEURBESLUIT ' ' , IN SO FAR AS THAT ARTICLE MAKES THE USE OF THE WORD ' ' LIKEUR ' ' MANDATORY IN THE CASE OF THE BEVERAGES THEREIN DEFINED .

2 THE QUESTION HAS BEEN RAISED IN THE CONTEXT OF CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST A DEALER IN BEVERAGES WHO IS CHARGED WITH HAVING SUPPLIED A BEVERAGE , IMPORTED FROM THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY AND DESCRIBED AS ' ' BERENTZEN APPEL - AUS APFEL MIT WEIZENKORN 25 VOL.% ' ' , WHICH DID NOT BEAR THE DESCRIPTION ' ' LIKEUR ' ' EVEN THOUGH IT FELL WITHIN THE ABOVE-MENTIONED PROVISION .

3 THE ' ' LIKEURBESLUIT ' ' WAS ENACTED ON THE BASIS OF ARTICLES 14 AND 15 OF THE NETHERLANDS ' ' WARENWET ' ' OF 28 DECEMBER 1935 ( STAATSBLAD 793 ). THOSE ARTICLES PROVIDE , INTER ALIA , THAT , IN ORDER TO PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH OR FAIR TRADING , GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS MAY SPECIFY THE DESCRIPTIONS WHICH MUST BE USED IN TRADE IN GOODS WHERE THE GOODS ARE OF A KIND OR COMPOSITION PROVIDED FOR IN THE REGULATION .

4 ARTICLE 1 ( 1 ) OF THE ' ' LIKEURBESLUIT ' ' OF 11 SEPTEMBER 1953 ( STAATSBLAD 466 ) IS AT PRESENT WORDED AS FOLLOWS :

' ' WHERE IT SATISFIES THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 3 , ANY PRODUCT WHICH HAS AS ITS CHARACTERISTIC INGREDIENTS ETHYL ALCOHOL , SUGAR , AROMATIC SUBSTANCES AND/OR FRUIT JUICE MAY AND MUST BE DESCRIBED BY ONE OF THE FOLLOWING WORDS : ' LIKEUR ' , ' TUSSENLIKEUR ' , ' VERLOFLIKEUR ' ( IT BEING PERMISSIBLE , WHERE APPROPRIATE , TO SPELL THE WORD ' LIKEUR ' AS ' LIQUEUR ' ), OR ' LIKORETTE ' , AND THE LAST DESCRIPTION MUST BE IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWED BY A STATEMENT OF THE PERCENTAGE BY VOLUME OF THE ALCOHOLIC STRENGTH AT 15 OC . THESE DESCRIPTIONS MAY BE USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH EXPRESSIONS SPECIFYING THE TASTE OR THE AROMA . ' '

ARTICLE 3 OF THE ' ' LIKEURBESLUIT ' ' PROVIDES THAT EVERY PRODUCT DESCRIBED IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARTICLE 1 ( 1 ) MUST HAVE A CERTAIN MINIMUM SUGAR CONTENT . IT ALSO PROVIDES THAT A PRODUCT DESCRIBED AS ' ' LIKEUR ' ' MUST HAVE AN ALCOHOLIC STRENGTH OF AT LEAST 22% BY VOLUME AND IT LAYS DOWN DIFFERENT AND LOWER ALCOHOLIC STRENGTHS FOR THE OTHER PRODUCTS WHICH IT MENTIONS . IN ADDITION ARTICLE 3 CONTAINS VARIOUS OTHER PROVISIONS ON THE COMPOSITION AND QUALITY OF THE PRODUCTS . ACCORDING TO ARTICLE 6 , THE NAME SPECIFIED FOR THE PRODUCT MUST APPEAR ON ANY RECEPTACLE WHICH IS INTENDED OR SUITABLE FOR DELIVERY WITH THE PRODUCT TO THE CONSUMER .

5 ARTICLE 2 OF THE ' ' LIKEURBESLUIT ' ' SETS FORTH A NUMBER OF EXCEPTIONS TO THE OBLIGATION TO USE THE DESCRIPTIONS REFERRED TO IN ARTICLE 1 . ONE OF THESE EXCEPTIONS RELATES TO PRODUCTS ' ' DESCRIBED WITH THE HELP OF A DESCRIPTION GENERALLY USED UNDER NORMAL COMMERCIAL PRACTICE TO DESCRIBE A LIQUEUR ' ' , PROVIDED THAT THOSE LIQUEURS HAVE AN ALCOHOLIC STRENGTH OF NOT LESS THAN 24% BY VOLUME AND THE DIRECTOR OF THE APPROPRIATE GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT HAS GIVEN HIS APPROVAL . OTHER EXCEPTIONS APPLY TO THE BEVERAGES WHICH ARE LISTED IN THE ARTICLE AND DESCRIBED BY NAMES WHICH FOR THE MOST PART ARE TYPICALLY DUTCH . FINALLY , ARTICLE 14 ( 4 ) OF THE ' ' WARENWET ' ' EMPOWERS THE APPROPRIATE MINISTERS TO GRANT EXEMPTIONS FROM INTER ALIA THE RULES OF THE ' ' LIKEURBESLUIT ' ' .

6 THE ACCUSED SUBMITTED THAT THESE NATIONAL RULES ARE INCOMPATIBLE WITH ARTICLE 30 OF THE EEC TREATY AND THE ECONOMISCHE POLITIERECHTER CONSIDERED IT NECESSARY THAT , PRIOR TO HIS GIVING JUDGMENT IN THE CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS , THE COURT SHOULD GIVE A RULING ON THE FOLLOWING QUESTION :

' ' DOES THE CONCEPT ' MEASURES HAVING AN EFFECT EQUIVALENT TO QUANTITATIVE RESTRICTIONS ON IMPORTS ' IN ARTICLE 30 OF THE EEC TREATY COVER THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 1 OF THE NETHERLANDS LIKEURBESLUIT ( DECREE ON LIQUEURS ) GOVERNING THE OBLIGATION TO USE THE WORD ' LIKEUR ' FOR BEVERAGES DEFINED THEREIN , AS A RESULT OF WHICH PRODUCTS FROM OTHER MEMBER STATES WHICH HAVE THE CHARACTERISTICS DEFINED IN ARTICLE 1 OF THE LIKEURBESLUIT , BUT IN RESPECT OF WHICH THERE IS NO OBLIGATION TO USE THE DESCRIPTION ' LIKEUR ' IN THOSE MEMBER STATES , MUST BE LABELLED DIFFERENTLY FOR IMPORTATION INTO THE NETHERLANDS?

' '

7 BEFORE THE COURT ANSWERS THE QUESTION REFERRED TO IT , IT SHOULD BE EMPHASIZED THAT , IN THE ABSENCE OF COMMON RULES RELATING TO THE PRODUCTION AND MARKETING OF ALCOHOL , IT IS , IN PRINCIPLE , FOR THE MEMBER STATES TO REGULATE ALL MATTERS RELATING TO THE MARKETING OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES ON THEIR OWN TERRITORY , INCLUDING THE DESCRIPTION AND LABELLING OF THESE BEVERAGES , SUBJECT TO ANY COMMUNITY MEASURE ADOPTED WITH A VIEW TO APPROXIMATING NATIONAL LAWS IN THESE FIELDS .

8 AT THE PRESENT STAGE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF COMMUNITY LAW THE FACTORS TO WHICH THE NATIONAL COURT NEED HAVE REGARD IN ITS INTERPRETATION DO NOT RELATE THEREFORE TO THE COMPATIBILITY WITH COMMUNITY LAW OF THE OBLIGATION TO USE A PARTICULAR DESCRIPTION IN MARKETING CERTAIN ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES . AS THE NATIONAL COURT HAS ITSELF INDICATED IN THE WORDING OF THE QUESTION TO THE COURT OF JUSTICE FOR A PRELIMINARY RULING , THE ISSUE IS WHETHER THE EXTENSION OF SUCH AN OBLIGATION TO BEVERAGES IMPORTED FROM THE OTHER MEMBER STATES IN SUCH A WAY AS TO MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO MARKET THE IMPORTED PRODUCT WITHOUT ALTERING THE LABEL UNDER WHICH THE BEVERAGE IS LAWFULLY MARKETED IN THE EXPORTING MEMBER STATE IS TO BE REGARDED AS A MEASURE HAVING AN EFFECT EQUIVALENT TO A QUANTITATIVE RESTRICTION WHICH IS PROHIBITED BY ARTICLE 30 OF THE TREATY .

9 IN ORDER TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION IT IS NECESSARY TO CONSIDER WHETHER THE EXTENSION OF THE NATIONAL RULES IS CAPABLE OF IMPEDING THE FREE MOVEMENT OF GOODS BETWEEN MEMBER STATES AND , IF SO , TO WHAT EXTENT SUCH AN OBSTACLE IS JUSTIFIED ON THE GROUND OF THE PUBLIC INTEREST UNDERLYING THE NATIONAL RULES .

10 ALTHOUGH THE EXTENSION TO IMPORTED PRODUCTS OF AN OBLIGATION TO USE A CERTAIN NAME ON THE LABEL DOES NOT WHOLLY PRECLUDE THE IMPORTATION INTO THE MEMBER STATE CONCERNED OF PRODUCTS ORIGINATING IN OTHER MEMBER STATES OR IN FREE CIRCULATION IN THOSE STATES IT MAY NONE THE LESS MAKE THEIR MARKETING MORE DIFFICULT , ESPECIALLY IN THE CASE OF PARALLEL IMPORTS . AS THE NETHERLANDS GOVERNMENT ITSELF ADMITS IN ITS OBSERVATIONS , SUCH AN EXTENSION OF THAT OBLIGATION IS THUS CAPABLE OF IMPEDING , AT LEAST INDIRECTLY , TRADE BETWEEN MEMBER STATES . IT IS THEREFORE NECESSARY TO CONSIDER WHETHER IT MAY BE JUSTIFIED ON THE GROUND OF THE PUBLIC INTEREST IN CONSUMER PROTECTION , WHICH , ACCORDING TO THE OBSERVATIONS OF THE NETHERLANDS GOVERNMENT AND ACCORDING TO THE ' ' WARENWET ' ' , UNDERLIES THE RULES IN QUESTION .

11 IF NATIONAL RULES RELATING TO A GIVEN PRODUCT INCLUDE THE OBLIGATION TO USE A DESCRIPTION THAT IS SUFFICIENTLY PRECISE TO INFORM THE PURCHASER OF THE NATURE OF THE PRODUCT AND TO ENABLE IT TO BE DISTINGUISHED FROM PRODUCTS WITH IT MIGHT BE CONFUSED , IT MAY WELL BE NECESSARY , IN ORDER TO GIVE CONSUMERS EFFECTIVE PROTECTION , TO EXTEND THIS OBLIGATION TO IMPORTED PRODUCTS ALSO , EVEN IN SUCH A WAY AS TO MAKE NECESSARY THE ALTERATION OF THE ORIGINAL LABELS OF SOME OF THESE PRODUCTS . AT THE LEVEL OF COMMUNITY LEGISLATION , THIS POSSIBILITY IS RECOGNIZED IN SEVERAL DIRECTIVES ON THE APPROXIMATION OF THE LAWS OF THE MEMBER STATES RELATING TO CERTAIN FOODSTUFFS AS WELL AS BY COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 79/112/EEC OF 18 DECEMBER 1978 ON THE APPROXIMATION OF THE LAWS OF THE MEMBER STATES RELATING TO THE LABELLING , PRESENTATION AND ADVERTISING OF FOODSTUFFS FOR SALE TO THE ULTIMATE CONSUMER ( OFFICIAL JOURNAL 1979 , L 33 , P . 1 ).

12 HOWEVER , THERE IS NO LONGER ANY NEED FOR SUCH PROTECTION IF THE DETAILS GIVEN ON THE ORIGINAL LABEL OF THE IMPORTED PRODUCT HAVE AS THEIR CONTENT INFORMATION ON THE NATURE OF THE PRODUCT AND THAT CONTENT INCLUDES AT LEAST THE SAME INFORMATION , AND IS JUST AS CAPABLE OF BEING UNDERSTOOD BY CONSUMERS IN THE IMPORTING STATE , AS THE DESCRIPTION PRESCRIBED BY THE RULES OF THAT STATE . IN THE CONTEXT OF ARTICLE 177 OF THE EEC TREATY , THE MAKING OF THE FINDINGS OF FACT NECESSARY IN ORDER TO ESTABLISH WHETHER THERE IS SUCH EQUIVALENCE IS A MATTER FOR THE NATIONAL COURT .

13 IN THEIR OBSERVATIONS BOTH THE COMMISSION AND THE NETHERLANDS GOVERNMENT PUT FORWARD ARGUMENTS BASED ON THE EXISTENCE IN THE NETHERLANDS RULES OF SEVERAL PROVISIONS PROVIDING FOR EXEMPTIONS . THE NETHERLANDS GOVERNMENT STRESSES THAT , UNDER ARTICLE 2 OF THE ' ' LIKEURBESLUIT ' ' , A DESCRIPTION IN GENERAL USE UNDER NORMAL COMMERCIAL PRACTICE MAY BE ALLOWED FOR THE PURPOSE OF DESCRIBING A LIQUEUR AND IT ALSO PLACES EMPHASIS ON ARTICLE 14 ( 4 ) OF THE ' ' WARENWET ' ' , WHICH PROVIDES FOR THE GRANTING OF EXEMPTIONS FROM ANY RULE ADOPTED PURSUANT TO THE SAID ARTICLE . THE COMMISSION , ON THE OTHER HAND , TAKES THE VIEW THAT THE EXCEPTIONS PROVIDED BY ARTICLE 2 OF THE ' ' LIKEURBESLUIT ' ' HAVE THE RESULT OF DISCRIMINATING AGAINST IMPORTED PRODUCTS WHICH ARE RELATIVELY LITTLE KNOWN ON THE MARKET IN THE NETHERLANDS .

14 WHEN CONSIDERING THESE ARGUMENTS IT MUST BE BORNE IN MIND THAT A MEASURE CAUGHT BY THE PROHIBITION PROVIDED FOR BY ARTICLE 30 OF THE EEC TREATY DOES NOT ESCAPE THIS PROHIBITION SIMPLY BECAUSE THE COMPETENT AUTHORITY IS EMPOWERED TO GRANT EXEMPTIONS , EVEN IF THIS POWER IS FREELY APPLIED TO IMPORTED PRODUCTS . ON THE OTHER HAND , IN THE CASE OF A MEASURE JUSTIFIED ON GROUNDS RECOGNIZED BY THE TREATY , THE TREATY DOES NOT FORBID IN PRINCIPLE PROVISION BEING MADE FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF GRANTING DEROGATIONS THEREFROM BY INDIVIDUAL DECISIONS LEFT TO THE DISCRETION OF THE ADMINISTRATION . HOWEVER , EXCEPTIONS MUST NOT LEAD TO THE FAVOURING OF DOMESTIC PRODUCTS BECAUSE THIS WOULD CONSTITUTE ARBITRARY DISCRIMINATION AGAINST OR A DISGUISED RESTRICTION ON PRODUCTS IMPORTED FROM OTHER MEMBER STATES . SUBJECT TO THAT RESERVATION , IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THE EXEMPTIONS PROVIDED FOR BY THE NETHERLANDS RULES PROVIDE ANY NEW FACTORS IN RELATION TO THE QUESTION PUT BY THE NATIONAL COURT .

15 THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION REFERRED TO THE COURT FOR A PRELIMINARY RULING SHOULD THEREFORE BE THAT THE EXTENSION BY A MEMBER STATE OF A PROVISION WHICH PROHIBITS THE SALE OF CERTAIN ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES UNDER A DESCRIPTION OTHER THAN THAT PRESCRIBED BY NATIONAL LAW TO BEVERAGES IMPORTED FROM OTHER MEMBER STATES , THEREBY MAKING IT NECESSARY TO ALTER THE LABEL UNDER WHICH THE IMPORTED BEVERAGE IS LAWFULLY MARKETED IN THE EXPORTING MEMBER STATE , IS TO BE CONSIDERED A MEASURE HAVING AN EFFECT EQUIVALENT TO A QUANTITATIVE RESTRICTION , WHICH IS PROHIBITED BY ARTICLE 30 OF THE TREATY , IN SO FAR AS THE DETAILS GIVEN ON THE ORIGINAL LABEL SUPPLY THE CONSUMER WITH INFORMATION ON THE NATURE OF THE PRODUCT IN QUESTION WHICH IS EQUIVALENT TO THAT IN THE DESCRIPTION PRESCRIBED BY LAW . IT IS FOR THE NATIONAL COURT TO MAKE THE FINDINGS OF FACT NECESSARY IN ORDER TO ESTABLISH WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS SUCH EQUIVALENCE .

Decision on costs



16 THE COSTS INCURRED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE KINGDOM OF THE NETHERLANDS AND BY THE COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES , WHICH HAVE SUBMITTED OBSERVATIONS TO THE COURT , ARE NOT RECOVERABLE . AS THESE PROCEEDINGS ARE , IN SO FAR AS THE ACCUSED IN THE MAIN PROCEEDINGS IS CONCERNED , IN THE NATURE OF A STEP IN THE CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE NATIONAL COURT , THE DECISION ON COSTS IS A MATTER FOR THAT COURT .

Operative part



ON THOSE GROUNDS ,

THE COURT ,

IN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION REFERRED TO IT BY THE ECONOMISCHE POLITIERECHTER OF THE ARRONDISSEMENTSRECHTBANK ASSEN BY JUDGMENT OF 19 DECEMBER 1979 , HEREBY RULES :

1 . THE EXTENSION BY A MEMBER STATE OF A PROVISION WHICH PROHIBITS THE SALE OF CERTAIN ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES UNDER A DESCRIPTION OTHER THAN THAT PRESCRIBED BY NATIONAL LAW TO BEVERAGES IMPORTED FROM OTHER MEMBER STATES , THEREBY MAKING IT NECESSARY TO ALTER THE LABEL UNDER WHICH THE IMPORTED BEVERAGE IS LAWFULLY MARKETED IN THE EXPORTING MEMBER STATE , IS TO BE CONSIDERED A MEASURE HAVING AN EFFECT EQUIVALENT TO A QUANTITAVE RESTRICTION , WHICH IS PROHIBITED BY ARTICLE 30 OF THE TREATY , IN SO FAR AS THE DETAILS GIVEN ON THE ORIGINAL LABEL SUPPLY THE CONSUMER WITH INFORMATION ON THE NATURE OF THE PRODUCT IN QUESTION WHICH IS EQUIVALENT TO THAT IN THE DESCRIPTION PRESCRIBED BY LAW .

2 . IT IS FOR THE NATIONAL COURT TO MAKE THE FINDINGS OF FACT NECESSARY IN ORDER TO ESTABLISH WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS SUCH EQUIVALENCE .