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Case 120/78 Cassis de Dijon

[1979] ECR 649

Case summary last updated at 12/02/2020 16:46 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Case 120/78 Cassis de Dijon

R imported French Liqueur to Germany. German Govt wouldn’t let it be sold as a liqueur, since German law defined that as a drink with 25%+ alcohol content, whereas the French drink had only 15%. ECJ held that this was a measure with an effect equivalent to quantitative restritions, as prohibited under article 28. 
ECJ: “The concept of measures having an effect equivalent to quantitative restrictions on imports contained in article 30 [now 28] of the EEC treaty is to be understood to mean that the fixing of a minimum alcohol content for alcoholic beverages intended for human consumption by the legislation of a member state also falls within the prohibition laid down in that provision where the importation of alcoholic beverages lawfully produced and marketed in another member state is concerned.” However “Obstacles to movement within the Community resulting from disparities between the national laws relating to the products in question [alcoholic drinks] must be accepted in so far as they may be necessary for effective fiscal supervision, protection of public health, the fairness of commercial transactions and consumer protection.” Here though, the rule wasn’t necessary to protect consumers, as less restrictive alternatives were available e.g. informing consumers of alcohol content on the packaging. 

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