Seven days in Europe

Cigarette vending machines have been outlawed in Scotland after an attempt to judicially review legislation banning them failed at the Court of Session. Sinclair Collis Ltd attempted to argue that the ban breached TFEU provisions on free movement of capital as the machines were imported from Spain, with spare parts coming from Germany. The Scottish government was able to justify the ban on public health grounds.

The Hungarian President lost an action that he brought after he was denied entry to Slovak territory, claiming a restriction of movement under Directive 2004/38. The CJEU held that Slovakia did not breach EU law by refusing entry into its territory. The reasoning was that although the President is an EU citizen, which confers on him the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States, EU law must be interpreted in light of relevant international law. The status of a Head of State is governed by international relations, and it was decided that based on international law the limitation on the exercise of free movement is justified.

Free scratchcards in magazines where everyone “wins” were brought to an end by another ECJ ruling – in Purely Creative & Ors v Office of Fair Trading (C-428/11) it was decided that traders’ practices which give a false impression to the consumer that he has already won a prize, while he has to incur a certain cost in order to receive it, are contrary to EU law.

Commissioner John Dalli resigned to “defend his reputation” over the tobacco-lobbying scandal. The Commission temporarily suspended work on its new anti-tobacco law until the issues surrounding it are resolved.

A general strike in Greece in protest against spending cuts turned into more violent confrontations between associated protestors and riot police. A man died of a heart attack in Syntagma Square, outside the Greek parliament.

Finally, the EU was awarded the Nobel peace prize for its work in helping transform Europe from a “continent of war to a continent of peace”. The introduction of democracy as a condition for membership and the promotion of co-operation in the Balkans were given as reasons by the panel.

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