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C 278/12 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 5.9.

98

It is clear from the French legislation that the GSC is Appeal brought on 5 June 1998 by Salzgitter AG
intended to contribute to the financing of all the branches (formerly Preussag Stahl AG) against the judgment
of the general social security scheme in France. Article 4 delivered on 31 March 1998 by the Third Chamber,
of Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 covers all the legislation Extended Composition, of the Court of First Instance of
relating to the branches of social security listed in the European Communities in Case T-129/96 between
paragraph 1. The purpose and use made of the GSC thus Preussag Stahl AG, supported by the Federal Republic of
lead the Commission to take the view that it constitutes a Germany, and the Commission of the European
social security contribution which comes within the scope Communities
of that Regulation. (Case C-210/98 P)
(98/C 278/21)

The Commission considers that levying the GSC on
income from employment and income substitution benefit
An appeal against the judgment delivered on 31 March
in the case of persons residing in France but working in
1998 by the Third Chamber, Extended Composition, of
another Member State undermines the principle that a
the Court of First Instance of the European Communities
single legislation is applicable, in that the GSC, which is
in Case T-129/96 between Preussag Stahl AG, supported
intended to finance social security schemes, is levied on
by the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Commission
incomes after deduction of all the social contributions due
of the European Communities was brought before the
in the State of employment, the only State which is
Court of Justice of the European Communities on 5 June
competent in matters of social security for employed
1998 by Salzgitter AG (formerly Preussag Stahl AG),
persons under Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71.
represented by Jochim Sedemund, Rechtsanwalt, of Messrs
Deringer, Tessin, Herrmann & Sedemund, Berlin, with an
address for service in Luxembourg at the Chambers of
Finally, the Commission lays emphasis on the importance Aloyse May, 31 Grand-Rue, L-1671 Luxembourg.
and urgency of deciding, as a matter of principle, whether
it is compatible with Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 to levy
The appellant claims that the Court should:
the GSC on employment income or income substitution
benefit derived from employment undertaken in another
Member State by persons resident in France for tax Ð set aside the judgment delivered on 31 March 1998
purposes, where social contributions have already been by the Court of First Instance of the European
deducted from that income. Although the French Communities in Case T-129/96 Preussag Stahl AG v.
authorities announced that they had ordered the Commission (1),
suspension of the levy in the case of frontier workers, it
should be borne in mind that this is a temporary and
provisional measure which can, by its very nature, be Ð annul Commission Decision 96/544/ECSC of 29 May
altered at the discretion of the competent national 1996 concerning State aid to Walzwerk Ilsenburg
authority. GmbH (OJ L 233, 14.9.1996, p. 24),

Ð order the Commission to pay the costs.
The reasons given by the French authorities for that
suspension were that amendments were being prepared to
the conditions for applying the GSC. In the final analysis, Pleas in law and main arguments adduced in support:
the inescapable conclusion in these proceedings is that the
French authorities have taken no steps to provide a
satisfactory response to the specific and clearly delineated Ð The decision of the Court of First Instance is based
objections raised by the Commission. The application of solely on the finding that the Commission ceased
the GSC none the less affects a large number of migrant ratione temporis to be competent, after 31 December
workers residing in France, of whom frontier workers are 1994, to adopt a decision concerning aid to Walzwerk
just one example, who have thus for many years been in a Ilsenburg. Neither the Treaty nor the Steel Aids Code
position of legal uncertainty which is incompatible with provides any basis for such a conclusion, which the
the principles of Community law. Court of First Instance purports to infer from the
preventive nature of the procedure for examining
proposed grants of aid and from certain material
deadlines for payments of regional aid. If the Court of
The Commission does not therefore consider that First Instance were correct in its view that Article 4(c)
suspension of the levying of the GSC has ended or of the ECSC Treaty precludes any subsequent material
remedied the breach of Community law described by it. assessment of aid which has already been granted, that
would mean that Article 6(4) of the Fifth Steel Aids
Code (2) is unlawful. It is clear from that illogical
(1) OJ, English Special Edition, First Series II, p. 416.
result that the legislature must have considered that
the Commission remains obliged, and thus competent,
to undertake a material assessment of a grant of aid
even after that aid has been paid over to its recipient,
5.9.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 278/13

Ð the view taken by the Court of First Instance, programmes provided for by Article 6 of Council
according to which the Commission had three months Directive 91/157/EEC (1) of 18 March 1991 on
in which to complete its examination, is consistent batteries and accumulators containing certain
neither with the Aids Code nor with the need, dangerous substances, the Hellenic Republic has failed
recognised by case-law, to complete that examination to fulfil its obligations under the Treaty and that
expeditiously, Directive,

Ð infringement of Article 6(6) of the Steel Aids Code and Ð order the Hellenic Republic to pay the costs.
breach of the general principles of law relating to aid:
in proceeding on the basis of the legally erroneous
premise that the Commission's competence is limited Pleas in law and main arguments adduced in support:
in time, the Court of First Instance disregarded the
case-law of the Court of Justice, according to which a
Under the third paragraph of Article 189 of the EC Treaty,
definitive order for the repayment of aid must
directives are binding, as to the result to be achieved,
invariably be preceded by a conclusive opinion of the
upon each Member State to which they are addressed.
Commission finding the aid substantively illegal. By
Under the first paragraph of Article 5 of the Treaty,
concluding from a failure to comply with a time-limit
Member States are to take all appropriate measures,
Ð which not even the Commission regards as a
whether general or particular, to ensure fulfilment of the
prescriptive deadline, and which it has in numerous
obligations arising out of the Treaty or resulting from
parallel cases treated as a mere administrative deadline
action taken by the institutions of the Community.
for notification purposes Ð that the aid was
substantively illegal, the Court of First Instance
unlawfully confused the formal and the substantive It is not disputed that, up until the time when this
aspects of the aid procedure, application was drafted, the Hellenic Republic still had
not drawn up programmes for the period from 18 March
Ð breach of the prohibition of discrimination: in dealing 1993 to 18 March 1997 as provided for by Article 6 of the
extremely summarily with this head of claim, the Directive, nor had it communicated to the Commission
Court of First Instance failed to comment on the programmes to secure the objectives laid down by that
comparison made by the appellant between its own Article.
situation and the aid case of EKO Stahl,
The Commission is therefore obliged to find that the
Ð breach of the principle of protection of legitimate Hellenic Republic has failed to fulfil its obligations under
expectations, the Treaty and Directive 91/157/EEC.

Ð breach of the obligation to provide a statement of (1) OJ L 78, 26.3.1991, p. 38.
reasons.

(1) OJ C 166, 30.5.1998, p. 14.
(2) Decision No 3855/91/ECSC (OJ L 362, 31.12.1991, p. 57).

Action brought on 16 June 1998 by the Commission of
the European Communities against the French Republic
(Case C-221/98)
Action brought on 10 June 1998 by the Commission of (98/C 278/23)
the European Communities against the Hellenic Republic
(Case C-215/98)
An action against the French Republic was brought before
(98/C 278/22) the Court of Justice of the European Communities on
16 June 1998 by the Commission of the European
Communities, represented by Marie Wolfcarius, of its
An action against the Hellenic Republic was brought Legal Service, acting as Agent, with an address for service
before the Court of Justice of the European Communities in Luxembourg at the office of Carlos Gómez de la Cruz,
on 10 June 1998 by the Commission of the European Wagner Centre, Kirchberg.
Communities, represented by Maria Kondou-Durande,
of its Legal Service, with an address for service in
Luxembourg at the office of Carlos Gómez de la Cruz, of The Commission of the European Communities claims
its Legal Service, Wagner Centre, Kirchberg. that the Court should:

The Commission claims that the Court should: 1. declare that:

Ð declare that, by failing to adopt or to communicate Ð by not allowing students, who are nationals of
to the Commission within the prescribed period the other Member States and seek to have their right