Yearbook of European Law - Vol. 10

By Francis Geoffrey Jacobs | Go to book overview

The Court of First Instance of the European Communities: A Significant Step towards the Consolidation of the European Community as a Community Governed by the Rule of Law*

JOSÉ LUIS DA CRUZ VILAÇA with the assistance of Luis MIGUEL PAIS ANTUNES


I. Introduction

The Single European Act,1 the purpose of which is to render more effective the system of Community institutions established by the Treaties, made a number of amendments to the structure, the powers, and the operating rules of all the institutions.

In the first place, it widened the scope of the qualified majority rule for decisions of the Council by comparison with what was previously laid down by the Treaties. This is the case with regard to matters relating not only to the achievement of the internal market, but also to areas traditionally governed by Community law where unanimity was previously required. These matters are as follows: amendents to the Common Customs Tariff-- Article 28 of the EEC Treaty; right to take up activities as a self-employed person--second part of Article 57(2); freedom to provide services for nationals of the Member States--second paragraph of Article 59; movement of capital and co-ordination of the exchange policies of the Member States-- Article 70(1); and sea and air transport--Article 84(2).2 This is also the case

____________________
*
© José Luis da Cruz Vilaça, 1990, President of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities and formerly Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Communities. Luis Miguel Pais Antunes, Legal Secretary at the Court of First Instance of the European Communities. The English version was prepared with the assistance of P. Galezowski, Lawyer-Linguist at the Court of Justice of the European Communities, to whom the authors wish to express their thanks.
1
Signed in Luxembourg on 17 Feb 1986 and at The Hague on 28 Feb 1986; it entered into force on 1 July 1987, OJ 1987 L 169/1.
2
I leave aside, as It need not be analysed here, the problem of ascertaining the significance of what is known as 'the Luxembourg Compromise' and its influence on the majority voting procedure provided for in the SEA. See, on that point, in particular W. Nicoll, "'The Luxembourg Compromise'", JCMS ( 1984) 35; A. Dashwood, "'Majority Voting in the Council'", Legislation for Europe 1992, Jürgen Schwartze (Ed) (Baden-Baden, 1989) 79; and J. L. Dewost, "'Le vote majoritaire: simple modalité de gestion ou enjeu politique essentiel?'" in Du droit international au droit de l'integration, Liber Amicorum Pierre Pescatore (Nomos Verlags, Baden-Baden, 1987) 167.

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