The European Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Courts
This paper aims to highlight how the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU (hereinafter, CFR or the Charter) has been used by the Community Courts and national judges. This will make it possible to ascertain its legal value before the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. As will be seen, it is remarkable how this document has increasingly become a point of reference for the Courts.
Commentators have devoted great attention to the legal status of the Charter. After its solemn proclamation in December 2000, it was commonly accepted that, contrary to the expectations of some of the members of the Convention,1 the CFR was formally not a legally binding instrument. However, this did not prevent the Charter from acquiring autonomous dignity being mentioned in acts adopted by the Community Institutions and quoted in the judgments delivered by the National, as well as by the European Courts.2
At a normative level, it can be noted that in carrying out their legislative function (i.e. submitting proposals and adopting the relevant acts) the EU Institutions seem to have taken the Charter seriously, albeit, occasionally, in a rather ‘formal’ sense.3 This should not come as a surprise considering the statements issued by the Presidents of the European Commission and the European Parliament at the time of its adoption, where they committed the respective institutions to comply with the rights contained in the Charter when exercising their powers.
It has correctly been stated that in this way the Charter becomes a sort of ‘code of conduct’ of the European Institutions which will influence the Community’s legislative process, 4 with the exception of the Common Foreign and Security Policy. All acts concerning fundamental rights undergo a preliminary evaluation in order to verify their compatibility with the Charter, which is generally invoked in the Recitals. This reference should not be understood as a standard clause, but rather as a parameter of compatibility with the Charter.5 This test is even more important after Bosphorus6 where the European Court of Human Rights (hereinafter, ECtHR) found that the protection of fundamental rights by Community law can be considered to be ‘equivalent’ to that of the Convention.
It follows from the above that the Charter is not merely a symbolic text. So much so that references to the document can be found in the opinions of the Advocates General in the case law of the Court of First Instance (hereinafter, CFI) and of the European Court of Justice (hereafter, ECJ or EUCJ) and has even been invoked by the ECtHR and by constitutional courts of the Member States. Still, the use made of the Charter varies considerably and deserves closer consideration.
The Advocates General and the First References to the Charter
The first reference to the Charter dates back to the 2001 TRACO case7 where AG Colomer mentioned Art. 36 CFR (“Access to services of general economic interest”) soon after Art. 16 of the EC Treaty without questioning the nature and the status of the Charter. Thereafter, Advocates General have consistently referred to the Charter,8 although in a rather different way.
In many cases the Advocates General did not take into consideration the value of the Charter, but invoked it to confirm or to support the existence of rights resulting from the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (hereinafter, ECHR) and/or the EC Treaty.9 Precisely because the Charter was conceived as a document of transcription and consolidation of fundamental rights protected within the EC legal order, the Advocates General considered that the Charter could not be ignored when deciding how to resolve issues regarding fundamental rights.10
In some cases the Charter was quoted after the ECHR to confirm a specific right contained therein. In the Evans case AG Alber affirmed that:
Article 6 of the ECHR, already incorporated into Community law, and Article 47 of the Fundamental Rights Charter, which cover in large measure the same substantive ground, may serve as a guideline for this purpose.11
A similar solution was adopted in the Tobacco case where AG Geelhoed claimed that the right to an effective remedy before a tribunal laid down in Arts. 6 and 13 ECHR had been transposed into Art. 47 CFR.12 When referring to these provisions Geelhoed insists on the distinction between the ECHR and the Charter highlighting the fact that the latter has an “internal character” and should be understood as a source of EC law. In other cases, Advocates General used the Charter as a source of rights, emphasizing that it is not in itself binding but is nonetheless of great relevance.13 In this regard, the opinion in the BECTU case is noteworthy.
14 Here, AG Tizzano referred to the CFR to stress that the right to remunerated annual leaves constitutes a fundamental right. He admitted that stricto sensu the Charter has no legislative scope and thus no binding force. Nonetheless, this document had “the purpose of serving, where its provisions so allow, as a substantive point of reference for all those
involved - Member States, institutions, natural and legal persons - in the Community context”.15 The Advocate General concluded his analysis by explaining that in proceedings concerned with the nature and scope of a fundamental right, the relevant statements of the Charter cannot be ignored because it “provides us with the most reliable and definitive confirmation of the fact that the right to paid annual leave constitutes a fundamental right”.16 Hence, it can be argued that the inclusion of a right in the Charter confirms its status as a fundamental right.17
Of course, this affects the scope and value of the CFR. As AG Léger underlined in his Opinion in Hautala:
the nature of the rights set down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights precludes it from being regarded as a mere list of purely moral principles without any consequences.18
Those principles are common to the legal traditions of the Member States, which have ultimately safeguarded their protection.19 In Seda Kücükdeveci, AG Bot, referring to previous case-law concerning the prohibition of age discrimination, went so far as to state that :
la mise en exergue d’un tel principe (de non discrimination) par la Cour correspond à l’évolution de ce droit telle qu’elle résulte, d’une part, de l’inscription de l’âge en tant que critère prohibé de discrimination à l’article 13, paragraphe 1, CE et, d’autre part, de la consécration de l’interdiction des discriminations fondées sur l’âge comme étant un droit fondamental, ainsi qu’il résulte de l’article 21, paragraphe 1, de la charte des droits fondamentaux de l’Union européenne. Certes, le raisonnement de la Cour aurait certainement été plus convaincant s’il s’était appuyé sur ces éléments, au-delà des seuls instruments internationaux et traditions constitutionnelles communes aux États membres qui, dans leur majorité, n’identifient pas un principe spécifique d’interdiction des discriminations en raison de l’âge.20
It follows from the examined opinions that the provisions of the Charter have been invoked to demonstrate the increased importance of some fundamental rights within the EC legal order. Legal commentators pointed out that the Charter could be used to clarify
the content and scope of the “constitutional traditions common to the Member States”, which represent a rather difficult category to define, offering a more authentic and more prominent interpretative tool with respect to the national constitutions.21 In this sense, even before the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the CFR could significantly affect the role of the ECJ, exalting its aspiration to become a Constitutional Court.22 In this hermeneutical effort the judges are assisted by the Presidium Explanations, which are devoid of any legal value, but are intended to shed light upon the meaning and scope of the various provisions of the Charter as they were discussed within and elaborated by the Convention.23 Reference to the latter, for instance, can be found in the Opinion delivered by AG Misho in D. v. Council,24 where they are invoked to affirm and explain the difference between marriage and homosexual unions.
There are also cases in which the Charter has been referred to in order to confirm the existence of these rights, but only in the footnotes. If, on the one hand, this demonstrates that it is not possible to ignore this text, on the other it reveals the difficulties in placing it amongst the sources of EC law.25 On several occasions Advocates General have used the Charter as a text acknowledging existing rights with no further specification and, hence, without dwelling on its scope and value.26 Also, the provisions contained in the CFR can clarify the meaning of the rights recognised by other texts. Indeed, in the Opinion delivered in Bourquain, AG Ruiz-Jarabo Colomer affirmed that:
a clearer glimpse of this horizon is given with the independent declaration of the ne bis in idem principle in the Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union.27
Some legal commentators have argued that, despite its undeniable clarifying function,28 the Charter is capable of promoting a higher standard of protection than the one resulting from the sum of the rights contained therein. The Charter has an undeniable added value: it contributes to create a European identity.29 Its elaboration falls within the EU “constitutionalisation process”, codifying and reaffirming certain rights which derive from the legal traditions common to the Member States, the EU and the EC treaties, the ECHR and the case law of Luxemburg and Strasbourg courts.30
In the Opinion delivered in Advocaten voor Wereld, AG Colomer affirmed that:
the Union must respect those rights and the Court must protect them, in accordance with Articles 6 EU and 46(d) EU, whatever the legal nature and force of the instrument adopted in December 2000.31
This statement suggests that regardless of its legal status, substance should prevail. The Charter could be considered a privileged instrument for identifying fundamental rights. It is perceived as “an invaluable reflection of the common denominator of the legal values paramount in Member States, from which emanate, in their turn, the general principles of Community law”32 and as “the catalogue of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Community legal order”.33
Hence, it is not surprising that the Charter was included in the second part of European Constitutional Treaty, 34 thus becoming legally binding. It is well-known that the 2005 French and Dutch negative referenda have brought the ambitious project of a European Constitution to an end.
However, it is interesting to note that during the period between the signing of the European Constitution and the decision of the European Council of Brussels of 21–22 June 2007 to proceed by adopting a new Reform Treaty, the Advocates General have invoked the second part of the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe.35
In relation to the future legal value of the Charter, AG Bot affirmed that the Court would inevitably be called upon to rule on cases that raise the problem of the application of Directives contributing to guarantee fundamental rights protection between individuals. This is because the fundamental rights contained in the Charter are often included in such normative instruments.36
At the end of this brief excursus it can be said that in most cases the Advocates General referred to the Charter considering it as a valid instrument to solve fundamental rights issues in cases pending before the ECJ.37
As will be seen, the latter has initially failed to attribute great importance to the document although it ultimately accepted its relevance within the EU legal order.
1. On the process which led to the adoption of the Charter, see the contribution by O. Zetterquist.
2. See P. Mengozzi, ‘La tutela dei diritti umani nella giurisprudenza comunitaria’, in L. S. Rossi, Carta dei diritti fondamentali e Costituzione dell’Unione europea (Giuffré, 2002) 51. The solemn declaration of the Charter marked a turning point with regards to European integration, highlighting the shift from the “Europe of the Market” to the “Europe of the Rights”. See A. Manzella, ‘Dopo Nizza: la Carta dei diritti “proclamata”’, in L. S. Rossi, Carta dei diritti fondamentali e Costituzione dell’Unione europea’ (Giuffré, 2002) 245.
3. As far as the European Commission is concerned, cf. Communication of the President of the Commission, 12 March 2001, SEC (2001)380/3 and the Communication of the Commission, 27 April 2005, COM (2005) 172 final. As to the European Parliament, cf. new Art. 34 of the Internal Regulation of the European Parliament, 15 February 2005. Also see A., Iliopoulou,‘ Assurer le respect et la promotion des droits fondamentaux: un nouveau défi pour l’Union européenne’, (2007) Cahiers de droit européen, 433.
4. L.S. Rossi, ‘“Costituzionalizzazione” dell’UE e dei diritti fondamentali’, in L.S. Rossi (ed.) Carta dei diritti fondamentali e Costituzione dell’Unione europea (Giuffré, 2002) 267. In the European Parliament Resolution of 15 March 2007, P6-TA-PROV(2007)0078, on compliance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the Commission’s legislative proposals: methodology for systematic and rigorous monitoring, the European Parliament called upon the Commission to verify the compliance of legislative proposals not only with all European and international instruments regarding fundamental rights, but also with the Charter of Fundamental Rights. This resolution, that contains many pragmatic suggestions, emphasizes the “self-obligation” of the European Institutions. See G. Bronzini, V. Piccone, ‘Parlamento europeo, Corte di Giustizia e Corte di Strasburgo rilanciano la Carta di Nizza: un messaggio alla futura Conferenza intergovernativa?’, accessible at www.europeanrights.eu. According to F. Ippolito (‘Ricominciamo dalla Carta dei diritti’, in G. Bisogni, G., Bronzini, V. Piccone (eds.), I giudici e la Carta dei diritti dell’Unione europea (Chimienti, 2006) 24) the Charter should set the legal standard to be observed by all European Institutions.
5. In this sense, cf. the Opinion of Advocate General Colomer in case C-207/04 in which it can be read: “the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, apart from the controversy regarding its legal nature, has had a significant influence on legislation planned and approved since it was proclaimed”. On the contribution Advocates General have brought to the use of the Charter.
6. Appl. No 45036/98, Bosphorus v. Ireland, (2005) 42 EHRR.
7. Case C-340/99 TNT Traco SpA v. Poste Italiane SpA  ECR I-4109, AG Alber.
8. Suffice it to recall that in 2001, the Charter was mentioned in 17 Opinions.
9. Case C-340/99 TNT Traco SpA v. Poste Italiane SpA, n. 7 above, AG Alber; Case C-126/01 Ministère de l_Économie, des Finances et de l’Industrie v. GEMO  ECR I-13769, AG Jacobs; Case C-112/00 E. Schmidberger and Others v. Austria  ECR I-5659, AG Jacobs; Case C-491/01 Tobacco Investments and Imperial Tobacco  ECR I-11453, AG Geelhoed; Case C-338/00P Volkswagen v. Commission  ECR I-9189, AG Colomer; Case C-217/00 P Buzzi UNICEM S.p.a  ECR I-123, AG Colomer; Case C-256/01 D. Allonby v. Accrington & Rossendale College and Others  ECR I-873, AG Geelhoed; Case C-117/01 KB v. National Health Service Pensions Agency and Others  ECR I-541, AG Colomer; Case C-353/01 P Mattila v. Council and Commission  ECR I-1073, AG Léger; Case C-386/02 J. Baldinger v. Pensionsversicherungsanstalt der Arbeiter  ECR I-8411, AG Colomer; Case C-456/02 M. Trojani v. CPAS  ECR I-07573, AG Geelhoed; Case C-36/02 Omega Spielhallen v. Oberbürgermeisterin der Bundesstadt Bonn  ECR I-9609, AG Stix-Hackl; C-384/02 Criminal proceedings against Knud Grøngaard and Allan Bang  ECR I-9939, AG General Poiares Maduro; Case C-457/02 Criminal proceedings against Antonio Niselli  ECR I-10853, AG Kokott; Case C-105/03 Criminal proceedings against M. Pupino  ECR I-5285, AG Kokott; Case C-347/03 ERSA v. Ministero delle Politiche Agricole e Forestali  ECR I-3785, AG Jacobs (insisting on the fact that the text of the Charter was included into the European Constitution); Case C-540/03 Parliament v. Council  ECR I-5769, AG Kokott; Case C-3/05 G. Verdoliva v. J. M. Van der Hoeven BV and Others  ECR I-1579, AG Kokott; Case C-94/04 Federico Cipolla  ECR I-11421, AG Poiares Maduro; Case C-354/04 P Gestoras Pro Amnistía and Others v. Council  ECR I-1579, AG Mengozzi; Case C-428/04 Commission v. Austria  ECR I-3325, AG Colomer; Case C-444/05 Aikaterini Stamatelaki v. OAEE  ECR I-3185, AG Colomer; Case C-64/05 P Sweden v. Commission and Others  ECR I-11389, AG Poiares Maduro; Case C-450/06 Varec, accessible at http://curia.europa.eu/, AG Sharpston; Case C-267/06 Tadao Maruko accessible at http://curia.europa.eu/, AG Colomer; Case C-123/08 Wolzenburg, accessible at http://curia.europa.eu; Case 14/08 Roda Golf & Beach Resort SL, accessible at http://curia.europa.eu.
10. R. Bifulco, M. Cartabia, A. Celotto, (eds.), L’Europa dei diritti. Commento alla Carta
dei diritti fondamentali dell’Unione europea (il Mulino, 2001). See also P. Eeckhout, ‘The EU Charter of fundamental rights and the federal question’, (2002) Common Market Law Review 945.
11. Case C-63/01 S.S. Evans v. The Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions  ECR I-14447, AG Alber, para 84.
12. Case C-491/01, British American Tobacco  ECR I-11453, AG Geelhoed, para 47.
13. The Charter appeared as a text reaffirming rights already contained in other instruments; see Case C-270/99P, Z v. European Parliament  ECR I-9197, AG Jacobs; C-413/99, Baumbast and R v. Secretary of State for the Home Department  ECR I-7091, AG Geelhoed; Case C-313/99, G. Mulligan and Others v. Minister for Agriculture and Food  ECR I-5719, AG Geelhoed; Case C-224/00, Commission v. Italy  ECR I-2965, AG Stix-Hackl; C-50/00, Unión de Pequeños Agricultores v. Council  ECR I-6677, AG Jacobs; Case C-111/02 P, Parliament v. P. Reynolds  ECR I-5475, AG Geelhoed; Case C-547/03P, AIT v. Commission  ECR I-845, AG Stix-Hackl; Case C-76/06P, Britannia Alloys & Chemicals Ltd v. Commission  ECR I-4405, AG Bot; Case C-350/06, Gerard Schultz-Hoff v. Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund, accessible at http://curia.europa.eu/, AG Trstenjak; Case C-480/08, Maria Teixeira, accessible at http://curia.europa.eu, AG Kokot.
14. Case C-173/99, BECTU  ECR I-4881, AG Tizzano.
15. Ibid., para 28.
17. See also case C-350/06 Schultz-Hoff, n. 13 above, AG Trstenjak on the right to be paid annual leaves. The Advocate General concluded that the inclusion of this right in the Charter appears to provide the most reliable and definitive confirmation that it constitutes a fundamental right. In this case, AG Trstenjak, although recognizing that the Charter has not been attributed a genuine legislative scope, opined that it would be wrong to deny the Charter any relevance in interpreting Community law. Irrespective of the question of the definitive legal status of the Charter within the legal system of the European Union, it already constitutes a concrete expression of shared fundamental European values and it also reflects constitutional traditions common to the Member States. This premise was followed by the conclusion that it is perfectly legitimate to refer to the Charter when interpreting Community law. It is interesting to note that the same AG Trstenjak in Martín Martín affirmed, with regard to the provisions of the Charter that “it should be pointed out that they fall outside the scope of the Community legal order and thus the Court has no jurisdiction over their interpretation. In their Opinions, the advocates general none the less often have recourse to them in their reasoning, and the Court itself has already mentioned the Charter in the grounds of its judgments. In this case, the provisions of the Charter can therefore be used as an aid to interpreting the provisions of Directive 85/577, but it will not be possible to rely on them in answering the question referred”, Case 227/08, Martín Martín, at http://curia.eu.
18. Case C-353/99 P Hautala  ECR I-9565, AG Léger, para 80.
19. Cf. Case C-105/04 Grothandel op Elektrochnisch Gebied  ECR I-8725, AG Kokott, Case C-10/05 Mattern and Cikotic  ECR I-3145, AG Kokott and Case C-555/07 Seda Kücükdeveci, at http://www.curia.eu, AG Bot.
20. Case C-555/07, Seda Kücükdeveci, n. 19 above, para 77 (only the French version is available).
21. L.S. Rossi, ‘“Costituzionalizzazione” dell’UE e dei diritti fondamentali’, n. 4 above 271. The Charter has limited the discretionary power of the ECJ and CFI in appraising fundamental rights. See A. Ruggieri, ‘Carta europea dei diritti e integrazione interordinamentale, dal punto di vista della giustizia e della giurisprudenza costituzionale (notazioni introduttive)’, in A. Pizzorusso, R. Romboli, A. Ruggeri, A. Saitta, G. Silvestri (eds.), Riflessi della Carta europea dei diritti sulla giustizia e la giurisprudenza costituzionale: Italia e Spagna a confronto (Giuffré, 2003) 12 and, in the same volume, the contribution by C. Pinelli, ‘La Carta europea dei diritti e il processo di costituzionalizzazione” del diritto europeo’ 70. This led many commentators to consider the Charter as a precious instrument for the protection of fundamental rights. Cf. Case C-303/05, Adovcaten coor de Wereld  ECR I-3633, AG Colomer; see also L. Diez-Picazo, ‘Notes sur la nouvelle Charte des droits fondamentaux de l’Union européenne’, (2002) Revue Européenne de Droit Public 937; C. Di Turi, ‘La prassi giudiziaria relativa all’applicazione delle Carta di Nizza’, (2002) Il Diritto dell’Unione europea, 681. See also R. Romboli, ‘Carta europea dei diritti e garanzie giurisdizionali (notazioni introduttive)’, in A. Pizzorusso, R. Romboli, A. Ruggeri, A. Saitta, G. Silvestri (eds.), Riflessi della Carta europea dei diritti sulla giustizia e la giurisprudenza costituzionale: Italia e Spagna a confronto (Giuffré, 2003) 110.
22. Cartabia, ‘La Carta di Nizza, i suoi giudici e l’isolamento della Corte costituzionale italiana’, in A. Pizzorusso, R. Romboli, A. Ruggeri, A. Saitta, G. Silvestri (eds.), n. 21 above, 211.
23. See also Appl. No 63235/00, Vilho Eskelinen and Others v. Finland (2007), accessible at www.echr.coe.int.
24. Joined Cases C-122/99 and C-125/99 D. v. Council  ECR I-04319, AG Mischo, para 97.
25. Case C-49/00 Commission v. Italy  ECR I-8575, AG Stix-Hackl; Case C-309/99 J. C. J. Wouters and Others v. Algemene Raad van de Nederlandse Orde van Advocaten  ECR I-1577, AG Léger; Case C-60/00 M. Carpenter v. Secretary of State for the Home Department  ECR I-6279, AG Stix-Hackl; Case C-459/99 MRAX v. Belgium  ECR I-6591, AG Stix-Hackl; Case C-417/02 Commission v. Grece  ECR I-7973, AG Kokott; Case C-186/04 P Housieaux v. Délégués du conseil de la Région de Bruxelles-Capitale  ECR I-3299, AG Kokott; Case C- 503/03 Commission v. Spain  ECR I-1097, AG Kokott; Case C-408/03 Commission v. Belgium  ECR I-2647, AG Colomer; Case C-205/03 FENIN v. Commission  ECR I-6295, AG Poiares Maduro; Case C-283/05 ASML Netherlands BV v. SEMIS  ECR I-12041, AG Léger; Case C-441/05 Roquette Frères v. Ministre de l_Agriculture, de l_Alimentation,de la Pêche et de la Ruralité  ECR I-1993, AG Kokott; Case C- 402/05P Kadi v. Council and Commission, accessible at http://curia.europa.eu, AG Poiares Maduro.
26. Case C-270/99 P Z. v. Parliament, n. 13 above, AG Jacobs; C-413/99 Baumbast and R v. Secretary of State for the Home Department, n. 13 above, AG Geelhoed; Case C-313/99 G. Mulligan and Others, n. 13 above, AG Geelhoed; Case C-224/00 Commission v. Italy, n. 13 above, AG Stix-Hackl; C-50/00 Unión de Pequeños Agricultores v. Council, n. 13 above, AG Jacobs; Case C-111/02 P Parliament v. P. Reynolds, n. 13 above, AG Geelhoed; Case C-547/03P AIT v. Commission, n. 13 above, AG Stix-Hackl; Case C-76/06P Britannia Alloys & Chemicals Ltd, n. 13 above, AG Bot; Case C-317 to 320/08, Rosalba Alassini and Others, AG Kokot.
27. Case C-297/07 Bourquain , accessible at http://curia.europa.eu.
28. The added value of the Charter can be appreciated taking into consideration the fact that many of the rights contained therein are “hidden” within the meanders of the case law.
29. L.S. Rossi, ‘“Costituzionalizzazione” dell’UE e dei diritti fondamentali’, n. 4 above, 279 ff. See also A. Anzon, ‘La Costituzione europea come problema’, (2000) Rivista di Diritto Costituzionale 656; S. Rodotà, ‘Ma l’Europa già applica la nuova Carta dei diritti?’, newspaper article which appeared in La Repubblica, 3 January 2001.
30. Case C-341/05 Laval  ECR I-11767, AG Mengozzi. On the added value of the Charter, see A. Celotto, ‘Giudici nazionali e Carta di Nizza: disapplicazione o interpretazione conforme?’, in G. Bronzini, V. Piccone (eds.), La Carta e le Corti.. I diritti fondamentali nella giurisprudenza europea multilivello (Chimienti, 2007) 30. It should also be mentioned that in Case C-305/05 Ordre des barreaux francophones et germanophone and Others  ECR I-5305, AG Poiares Maduro claimed that the Charter indicates the existence of a right (activating a sort of presumption iuris tantum) and offers useful indications as to its content and scope.
31. Case C-303/05 Advocaten voor Wereld, n. 21 above, AG Colomer, para 77.
32. Case C-208/00 Überseering  ECR I-9919, AG Colomer, para 59.
33. Case C-20/00 Booker Aquaculture,  ECR I-7411, AG Mischo, para 126; Case C-181/03 P Albert Nardone v. Commission  ECR I-199, AG Poiares Maduro; see also, Joined Cases C-387/02, C-391/02 and C-403/02 Criminal proceedings against S. Berlusconi and Others  ECR I-3565, AG Kokott.
34. The provisions of the Charter have been transposed, with some necessary adaptations, in Arts. II-61 to II-114 of the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe,  OJ C 310/1. 35Case C-209/03 D. Bidar v. London Borough of Ealing and Others  ECR I-2119, AG Geelhoed; Case C-176/03 Commission v. Council  ECR I-7879, AG Colomer; Case C-436/04 Criminal proceedings against L. Henri Van Esbroeck  ECR I-2333, AG Colomer; Case C-499/04 H. Werhof v. Freeway Traffic Systems GmbH & Co. KG  ECR I-2397, AG Colomer; Case C-212/06 Government of Communauté française and Gouvernement Wallon v. Gouvernement Flamand, accessible at http://curia.europa.eu/, AG Sharpston; Case C-303/05 Advocaten voor de Wereld, n. 21 above, AG Colomer.
36. Case 555/07 Seda Kücükdeveci, AG Bot n. 19 above.
37. Case C-466/00 Kaba  ECR I-2219, AG Colomer; Case C-317/04 Parliament v.Council  ECR I-4721, AG Léger