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Case 114/76 Bela-Mühle

[1977] ECR 1211

Case summary last updated at 14/02/2020 15:43 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Case 114/76 Bela-Mühle

From the first tutorial – on proportionality and non-discrimination): To reduce stocks of dried milk powder, those importing livestock feed were required, under regulations, to purchase a quantity of milk powder with every import, set at a high price, and with a high penalty for failure to do so. ECJ held that this was a disproportionate measure and therefore annulled it.
 
AG’s opinion: Question here is whether it is lawful, in the general interest of the Community, to impose specific burdens and sacrifices upon categories (i.e. livestock importers) outside a sector in difficulty (milk production). “The principle of proportionality is infringed only if the means chosen are clearly inappropriate and the legislature's grounds are so manifestly erroneous that they can afford no reasonable basis for legislative measures.” The principle of non-discrimination is contravened by this policy, “by charging all breeders in their capacity as users of feeding-stuffs and by giving preferential treatment to milk producers. For example, the price of soya meal, which is the most important vegetable protein substance in feeding-stuffs, went up by about 14 per cent after the contested rules entered into force.” It is discriminatory to finance one sector of industry that is overproducing with charges on other sectors. 

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