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TUAEUC digest 24/06/08

European Court of Justice launches new attack on workers' rights in Luxembourg

The European Court of Justice (ECJ)  has issued its judgment in a case brought to the Court by the European Commission against labour laws in Luxembourg. The ECJ upheld the Commission's complaint on all points against the way in which Luxembourg has implemented the Posting Directive as an "obstacle to the free provision of cross border services". The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) said that it was another "hugely problematic judgement".

This latest judgment, following Viking, Laval and Rüffert shows, according to the ETUC leader John Monks, that that the ECJ and the European Commission are demanding "the primacy of the economic freedoms over fundamental rights and respect for national labour law and collective agreements". He said the Posting Directive is being used as "an aggressive internal market tool". <>

High Court asks Government to wait for its judgement on the Wheeler case before pressing ahead with ratification of Lisbon Treaty

PA reports that Stuart Wheeler has attacked the Government for proceeding with the final, technical stage of ratification before the outcome of his legal bid to force a referendum.  He said it was "disgraceful" that ministers appeared unwilling to wait a few weeks for lawyers to deliver their ruling on his case before completing the ratification process - which involves depositing the "instruments of ratification" in Rome.  The Foreign Office has until the end of December to complete this stage, which Mr Wheeler argues leaves plenty of time to await the final ruling on his application for judicial review of the decision not to hold a referendum.

He said: "You have to ask why the Government felt it necessary to rush through the ratification of this Treaty when only last night European leaders agreed to give the Irish 'time and space' to react after last week's No vote.  The Treaty cannot legally be enforced until all 27 member states have ratified it, so why the rush?[...] The flight to Rome doesn't take six months."

Meanwhile, on behalf of the High Court, Lord Justice Richards has written to the Government to say "The court is very surprised that the Government apparently proposes to ratify while the claimant's challenge to the decision not to hold a referendum on ratification is before the court.  The court expects judgment to be handed down next week.  The defendants are invited to stay their hand voluntarily until judgment." 

Stuart Wheeler's website <>

Former Irish PM John Bruton admits Lisbon is the same as the EU Constitution

Former EU ambassador to the US and former Irish Prime Minister John Bruton has admitted that the Lisbon Treaty is the same as the EU Constitution. Speaking on Newsnight last night on the options open to Ireland, he said: "There is a third possibility which happened after the French and Dutch voted 'No' which was that the same material was presented but it was presented in a different form; it was presented as a treaty amending existing treaties rather than a rather more readable constitution. It may well be that on this occasion they might decide to look at presenting individual treaties with individual parts of Lisbon to be individually decided, that's another possibility."

He said: "Many suspected that when the European Union went from 15 members to 27 on the basis of the Nice Treaty that everything would stop. In fact the contrary has been the case. I think you can say that the European Union has been more active in producing new legislation and new initiatives in the years prior to our enlargement so I don't think the existing treaties are incapable of enabling us to move forward and do a lot of very good work."

BBC Newsnight <>

Polish Foreign Minister admits he does not understand Lisbon Treaty

The FT Brussels blog reports that the Polish Foreign Minister has admitted that he does not understand the Lisbon Treaty. According to two people who attended the discussions Radek Sikorski burst out during this week's foreign ministers' meeting: "Why don't we write treaties that even we in this room can understand?"

FT Brussels Blog <>