Simmenthal SpA v Italian Minister of Finance [1978]

European Law

Simmenthal SpA v Italian Minister of Finance [1978]
‘White Cow’ by Nic Dartnell

This brief yet pivotal case turned upon the unfair application of import fees regardless of existing Community law enabling the free movement of goods between Member States, when under guidance of art.32 of the Italian consolidated health laws, a Monza-based meat supplier was subjected to inspection fees for a beef consignment purchased in France despite operating within the framework of Community law. 

Having waited almost three years, the supplier sought action against the Italian government on grounds that it had acted beyond the limits of its Member State obligations, and so in the first instance the local court (Pretura di Susa) sought a preliminary ruling in the European Court of Justice under art.177 EC, whereupon it was held by the Court that importation charges levied against its citizens amounted to little more than quantitive restrictions within the scope of art.30 EC and were therefore illegal and repayable with interest.

In response the Amministrazione Delle Finanze Dello Stato (Finance Administration) appealed the judgment while citing incompatibility with Italian national law (no.1239/70), a challenge that resulted in the issue of ‘direct effect’ and the reluctance of Member States or their Constitutional courts to enforce Community laws when national laws obstructed the blanket protections afforded individual citizens. 

At the time of discussion the only options available to the judiciary were the immediate repeal of the relevant legislation or declaration of incompatibility by the Constitutional Court, and while the latter approach doubtless favoured the Italian government, it was later held by the European Court of Justice that the ‘principle of the precedence of Community law’ must be held in the highest regard, therefore in order for that doctrine to continue it was paramount that the lower courts were to be given powers to enforce Community law regardless of any jurisdictional contradictions presented, while further reminding the parties that:

“[D]irectly applicable Community provisions must, notwithstanding any internal rule or practice whatsoever of the Member States, have full, complete and uniform effect in their legal systems in order to protect subjective legal rights created in favour of individuals…”

Francovich and others v Italy [1991]

European Law

Francovich and others v Italy [1991]
‘Azov Steel Mill’ by Konstantin Shurupov

The adoption of EU Directives is a prerequisite for all Member States, and so an when ignorance of the duty to transpose those obligations into the fabric of national and Community law remained unaddressed, the perfect vehicle emerged with which to underline it.

The importance of employee rights is one frequently contested in all forms of commerce, and so when Italy failed to adopt Directive 80/987/EEC, it was the joint action of a group of factory workers that directed the European Community’s attention towards the heart of industry and the anger of those being abused within the market system.

After serving as a loyal employee for an electronics firm, the claimant found himself redundant through the process of liquidation and yet left unpaid for work undertaken and uncompensated for his loss of earnings, and so in a conjoined hearing, Danila Bonifaci and thirty-three other employees (case C-9/90) sought recompense within the same matter.

In the first instance the Pretore di Vicenza and Pretore di Bassano del Grappa both sought a preliminary hearing under art.177 EC, and so the first approach taken by the European Court of Justice was to determine if the respondent’s failure to adjust their domestic laws in line with Directive 80/987/EEC had rendered itself liable to individual enforcement of accountability for payment of lost earnings, or whether the pecuniary losses sustained by the claimants were sufficient enough to award damages based upon state avoidance.

Through an examination of the qualifying criteria for ‘direct effect’ claims, the Court established that this particular case satisfied those terms, and yet noted how the respondent’s non-adoption had failed to fulfil a key element of the Directive requiring proper identification of the companies subscribed to those duties, which left the Commission unable to determine who the two employers were, and how they would be obliged to provide payment or legally defer the onus to the Italian government. 

However the Court also noted how in Simmenthal SpA v Italian Minister of Finance they had held that:

“[D]irectly applicable Community provisions must, notwithstanding any internal rule or practice whatsoever of the Member States, have full, complete and uniform effect in their legal systems in order to protect subjective legal rights created in favour of individuals…”

Which showed that the inability to reflect EU laws will be used as an example when serving the interests of the Community, thus the Court unanimously held that all Member State national courts were held to a duty to redress the inequity of failed transposition, thus full state funded compensation was now due, while reminding the parties that:

“[W]herever the provisions of Directive appear, as far as their subject matter is concerned, to be unconditional and sufficiently precise, those provisions may, in the absence of implementing measures adopted within the prescribed period, be relied upon as against any national provision which is incompatible with the Directive or in so far as the provisions define rights which individuals are able to assert against the State.”

CILFIT and Lanificio di Gavardo SpA v Ministry of Health [1982]

European Law

CILFIT
‘Lamb of God’ by Francisco de Zurburán

Member State compliance with Community law is brought into question after an Italian national court sought to address their Ministry for Health’s contention that domestic laws precluded a right to claim, and that no regulatory terms could provide a different outcome.

When a claim was made by a number of textile firms against the excessive taxation of imported wool, they relied upon the powers conferred by Regulation 827/68/EEC and not the discriminatory rules set down under the national powers of Law No.30, which had forced companies to pay levies ten times the amount intended prior to a later amendment under Law No.1239.

In the first instance the claimants were denied a right to recover in the Tribunal di Roma (District Court) on grounds that the adoption of Regulation 827/68/EEC had excluded wool, while the Corte d’Appello (Court of Appeal) also rejected the claim before they appealed to the Court of Cassation, whereupon the Ministry of Health cross-appealed in an attempt to persuade the Court to decide the outcome without seeking a preliminary ruling under art.177 EC.

Here the Court interpreted that by virtue of the fact that the Ministry of Health argued against a consultation with the European Court of Justice, there must be a degree of uncertainty as to the effect of Regulation 827/68/EEC, and that while national legislation failed to provide an immediate remedy such a duty nonetheless existed. 

Thus in accordance with its perceived obligations the Court of Cassation asked:

1. Whether under such circumstances para.3 of art.177 EC required the national courts (or courts of first instance) to seek a preliminary ruling where uncertainty or doubt as to the interpretation of a Regulation existed?

Having evaluated the intentions and possible variances of art.177 EC it was agreed by the European Court of Justice that while certain discretions were provided for when adopting and applying the terms of Community law, the obligation to seek a preliminary ruling was one designed to establish clarity. 

This translated that even if the questions arose from claimants, government or the courts themselves, it was important that the courts looked at the complexity of the doubt and sought (where relevant) the assistance of the European Court of Justice in order that the effect of the Regulation or Directive was properly established, while the Court further reminded the parties that:

A uniform interpretation of Community law by the Court is objectively in the public interest, which may not be subordinated to the existence or otherwise of agreement between the national courts in the previous stages of an action or to the assent or dissent of the parties.”

Commission v United Kingdom [Excise Duties on Wine] [1980]

European Law

 

Commission v United Kingdom [Excise Duties on Wine]
‘Still Life with Bottle, Glass and Loaf’ by Imitator of Jean-Siméon Chardin

Member State obligations to observe the fairness of the European market when allowing for competition were crystallised in this taxation matter surrounding the importation and domestic production of alcoholic drinks.

The terms of Art.95 EC (in particular para.1) were constructed so as to allow and support the freedom of competition between Member States when selling comparable products including alcoholic beverages in their various forms, however during a period between 1973 and 1981 the United Kingdom deliberately increased the taxation rates for bottled wines over that of bottled beers, thus the margin between the two remained disproportionate for a considerable period and significantly hampered the sale of affordable imported wines in lieu of an over-proliferation of domestic low-volume beers.

When addressed by the European Commission under the inference that such disparity amounted to a breach of para.2 of art.95 EC, it was suggested that while running contrary to the harmonisation of Community law, the Member State was, under art.169 EC now required to submit its own observations in defence of its failure to follow the terms prescribed.

In response the United Kingdom contested the findings with little supporting evidence, thereby prompting the Commission to apply to the European Court of Justice on the strength of the breach, while citing that by way of reparation the United Kingdom was to pay the costs of the action. 

Shortly afterwards the Court also allowed Italy to intervene in support of the Commission under art.37 of the Protocol on the Statute of the Court of Justice, whereupon the Court instructed the three parties to reexamine their arguments and submit relevant chronological sales data before reconvening for judgment.

Having established that the manufacturing processes for beer and wine were comparable, it was then revealed that due to the complex structure of the British market it was only possible to compare prices through the taxation rates applicable to the volume (strength) of the alcohol in hand. 

It was this contradistinction that showed clear support for the suggestion that protective measures had been implemented in order to deprive the import of affordable wines from other Member Sates despite the measures laid down under art.95 and the United Kingdom’s obligation to follow them.

Citing numerous and unsustainable arguments for the heavy taxation of wines (including manufacturing costs (as previously ruled out) and alleged ‘social’ reasons) the Court held that a serious breach of art.95 EC had been in existence not only for a considerable period, but that recent attempts to narrow the margin were indicative of reasons beyond that expected from a Member State when observing their duty to encourage and support the free movement of goods and equality of competition between states, before reminding those responsible that:

“[A] Member State may lay down differing tax arrangements even for identical products on the basis of objective criteria provided that such arrangements pursue objectives of economic policy which are themselves compatible with Community law and that they are not discriminatory or protective in nature.”

Bolognese Ragù

Beef Recipes

Bolognese Ragù
‘Emilia Romagna, View to Verucchio’ by Johann Pickl

After recently discovering this frankly sublime recipe, I wasted little time in making it for myself before posting it here, and I can testify that the results more than justify the time invested, when after slow cooking it for almost four hours, this dish blew me away with its luscious taste and instant appeal.

I would also add that many people have naively tinkered with these ingredients through a fear that its simplicity might find itself lacking, however I can absolutely assure you that this is exactly what you need and nothing more, while remaining mindful that this is a centuries-old method, so trust that it is perfect and allow yourself to enjoy a beautiful  bowl of Italian cuisine at its very best.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
75g Butter
250g Minced Pork (15-20% fat)
500g Minced Beef (15-20% fat)
300g Tagliatelle
Medium Onion (very finely chopped)
100g Carrots (peeled and very finely diced)
100g Celery ( very finely diced)
Small Bottle Red Wine
3 Tbsps Tomato Purée
125ml Milk
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

How to Cook

1. Add the diced pork to a 26cm non-stick chef pan, and gently stir-fry the meat until well cooked and almost moisture free.

2. Add the minced beef to the pork, and brown it slowly while stirring over a medium heat before removing and setting them aside.

3. Melt the butter in the same pan before adding the onions, carrots and celery,  and gently fry them until the onions are soft and almost slightly golden.

4. Add the tomato purée, pork and beef, gently combine everything and simmer gently uncovered for 3-4 minutes, before adding the wine and mixing everything well.

5. Lower the heat, tightly cover the pan with aluminium foil and the lid, and place it on a very gentle simmer for 3 hours, checking every hour and adding a little water where needed.

6. Add the milk, mix well and continue to simmer partially covered for another 40 minutes before seasoning with salt and pepper.

7. Cook the tagliatelle according to the pack instructions, drain and gently combine it with the ragù before serving as required.

Comments
This particular recipe calls for tagliatelle, however you could also serve it with pappardelle and some crusty buttered rolls to soak up the delicious oils left behind.

Mushroom Risotto

Recipes

Mushroom Risotto
‘Mushrooms’ by Albert Kechyan

More a labour of love than a quick meal, risotto is simple in design, and yet without the requisite constant attention you can bargain that it will almost certainly fail to evolve into the silky, almost perfect dining experience it offers, while this recipe exemplifies how just one simple ingredient can lift a risotto to almost heavenly standards, which means you absolutely owe it to yourself to prepare and cook this beautiful meal and share with those you really care about and love in the knowledge that your gesture will not go unnoticed.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

6 Tbsps Olive Oil
150g Butter
250g Mushrooms (sliced)
Medium Red Onion (finely chopped)
3 Garlic Cloves (peeled and grated)
300g Risotto Rice
1 Litre Chicken Stock
Small Bottle of White Wine
2 Tbsps Lemon Juice
25g Pack of Fresh Basil (finely chopped)
150g Parmesan (grated)
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

How to Cook

1. Heat half of the olive oil in a 26cm non-stick chef pan, add the mushrooms, stir-fry them until well cooked, and then remove and set them aside, adding any remaining mushroom liquid to the chicken stock.

2. Melt half of the butter in the same pan, add the onions and garlic, and stir-fry both until the onions are soft, but not browned.

3. Meanwhile, add the chicken stock to an 18cm non-stick saucepan, and keep it warm on a low heat while you prep the risotto.

4. Add the white wine to the onions, and reduce by half over a medium heat while stirring.

5. Add the risotto rice to the onions, stir well to coat everything, and add a ladleful of the stock, stirring constantly until the stock has been absorbed by the rice.

6. Continue this process until all of the stock has been added, and the rice is now looking thick and glutenous

7. Gently fold the mushrooms, remaining butter, chopped basil, lemon juice and most of the parmesan into the rice, season with salt and pepper, stirring well to combine the ingredients.

8. Finally cover the pan, turn off the heat, and allow it to sit for 5-6 minutes, before serving as required with a sprinkling of parmesan on each portion.

Comments
When I cook this (and many other types of risotto) for my family, I typically serve it with either a crisp salad, crusty buttered rolls, or both if the appetite is wanting, however it’s just as good served as is, with a nice bottle of white wine to suit your palate.

The Pork section is now finished.

A Cookbook for Food Lovers

Pork

I’m happy to report that this chapter of the ‘Our Favourite Recipes: A Cookbook for Food Lovers’ is now ready, and so now its time for me to start working on the ‘vegetables’ section (far and away the biggest part of the book), therefore it will no doubt take me a while to complete it, but as with food itself, ‘all good things come to those who wait’, and so in the interim, below is a list of the delicious pork recipes that will be included in the finished product. I hope that you will ultimately enjoy cooking and eating them as much as I have writing them up.

(1) Balsamic Roasted Sausages with Vegetables

(2) Cart Drivers’ Spaghetti

(3) Cumberland Sausage and Split-pea Casserole

(4) Fusilli All’ Amatriciana

(5) Goan Pork Curry with Potatoes

(6) Kerala Pork Curry

(7) Lancashire Hotpot

(8) Pasta with Asparagus,Cream and Ham Sauce

(9) Penne with Sausage Sauce

(10) Pork and Butternut Squash Curry Pork Curry

(11) Pork Dopiaza

(12) Pork Fillet in Honey and Ginger

(13) Pork in a Mustard Spice Mix

(14) Pork Kapitan

(15) Pork Vindaloo

(16) Spaghetti Carbonara

(17) Spicy Sichuan Pork with Noodles

(18) Stir-Fried Pork Mince with Basil

(19) Stir-Fried Pork Mince with Mushrooms

(20) Tagliatelle with Minced Pork Sauce

(21) Yellow Pork Curry

Italian Meatballs

Recipes

Italian Meatballs
‘With Meatballs on Top’ by JJ Galloway

The staple meal in any Italian household, only made to our particular tastes, this is a dinner that is well worth the wait, and I would recommend you wear some kind of napkins or kitchen paper over your clothes to avoid any mess. There is no doubt that this is a lip-smacking dinner which wins with children and adults alike, and any leftovers (and there rarely is) can be easily frozen for later use.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
Large Slug of Olive Oil
2 400g Packs of Beef Meatballs
240-300g Pack of Bacon
Medium Onion (Finely Chopped
2 Garlic cloves (Peeled and Grated)
Beef Stock Cube
2 Tsps Tomato Purée
2 Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Finely Chopped)
500g Tomato Passata
3 Whole Tomatoes (Quartered)
Tsp Dried Oregano
Tsp Dried Basil
Tsp Dried Parsley
2 Bay Leaves
Small 187ml Bottle Red Wine
25g Pack Fresh Basil (Finely Chopped)
Tsp Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

How to Cook

  1. Finely dice the bacon after removing any unwanted fat and then after heating the oil in a non-stick chef pan (or similar), gently fry the onions and garlic until soft and slightly brown.
  1. Add both the meatballs and bacon and brown both meats slowly on a gently heat, stirring occasionally.
  1. Add the oregano, basil, parsley, beef stock cube, salt and pepper, sound-dried tomatoes, tomato purée and sun-dried tomatoes and bay leaves then stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
  1. Pour in the red wine and tomato passata, stir well and simmer for 3-4 minutes  before adding the quartered tomatoes, covering the pan and simmering gently for 1 to 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  1. Just before serving, add the chopped basil and mix well.

Comments
It goes without saying that meatballs are best served with spaghetti or linguini, however you can also use penne or fusilli if preferred. In fact, most shaped pastas work equally well, while remembering to grate plenty of freshly grated parmesan or romano (pecorino) cheese over the top (as long as your diners are in agreement) along with extra salt and pepper where required.

 

The Fish section is now complete.

A Cookbook for Food Lovers

Fish

With thirty dishes to enjoy, I am very pleased to announce that this third chapter of the book is now complete, and so here below is a list of the recipes just waiting to be cooked and hopefully digested with gleeful satisfaction:

(1) Bengali Mustard Salmon

(2) Chickpea and Cod Stew

(3) Creamy Pasta with Basil and Salmon

(4) Fish Pie

(5) Grilled Cod with Spring Onion Mash

(6) Haddock with Creamed Leeks, Beans and Parsley

(7) Linguini with Salmon and Fresh Dill

(8) Linguini with Tuna Fish Sauce

(9) Macaroni with Sardines and Fennel

(10) Mackerel and Potato Curry

(11) Mackerel, Potato and Thyme Bake

(12) Monkfish with Garlic and Sage

(13) Omelette Arnold Bennett

(14) Pasta with Broccoli and Anchovies

(15) Pasta with Mackerel and Pine Nuts

(16) Pearl Barley and Mackerel Kedgeree

(17) Roasted Haddock with Fennel, Mustard and Ginger

(18)  Roasted Monkfish with Watercress Potatoes

(19) Red Mullet Penne

(20) Salmon Burgers with Basil Mayonnaise

(21) Salmon Parcels

(22) Salmon Quiche

(23) Sea Bass with Basil Pepperonata

(24) Smoked Haddock Kedgeree

(25) Smoked Mackerel and Potato Bake

(26) Spaghetti Atterrati

(27) Spaghetti with Onion, Tuna and Anchovies

(28) Spaghetti with Pizzaiola Sauce

(29) Tagliatelle with Tuna, Lemon and Rocket

(30) Tuna, Pasta and Garlic

 

The Beef and Chicken sections are now complete.

A Cookbook for Food Lovers

Having now written up the first two sections of the cookbook, I thought I would share the contents here should anybody be curious to know which dishes will be covered. I admit  that I’m not a big beef eater, so there are naturally more chicken-based recipes, and as you will also see I am an ardent lover of curries too. I can also assure you that all of these recipes have been thoroughly road-tested, and will not disappoint once cooked and served up, and the theme here is about quality and not quantity, therefore each of these dishes easily speak for themselves.

On a personal level I’m very excited about this cookbook, and will stress that it’s been a genuine labour of love both cooking and adapting them ahead of my putting everything in one convenient point of reference.

Content-wise, my current estimations indicate there will be a total of 245+ recipes when the book is finished next spring/summer, and rest assured, there will plenty of dishes to  sink your teeth into when it’s finally published (if you’ll excuse the pun) and as each section is completed I will list their contents here first.

Beef


Beef Recipes


(1) Beef Bourguignon

(2) Beef Goulash

(3) Beef and Potato Curry

(4) Chilli-Con-Carne

(5) Curried Meatballs

(6) Curried Mince Beef with Peas

(7) Homemade Beefburgers

(8) Italian Meatballs

(9) Lasagne

(10) Shepherd’s Pie

(11) Spaghetti Bolognese

Chicken


Chicken Recipes


(1) Baked Cardamom Chicken Curry

(2) Bengali Chicken

(3) Braised Chicken Curry

(4) Burmese Chicken Curry

(5) Caribbean Chicken Curry

(6) Chettinad Chicken Curry

(7) Chicken and Basil Fried Rice

(8) Chicken with Black Bean Sauce

(9) Chicken and Cardamom Curry

(10) Chicken and Green Bean Curry

(11) Chicken Kukupaka

(12) Chicken Stew

(13) Chicken Vindaloo

(14) Coconut and Soy Chicken

(15) Coriander Chicken

(16) Crispy Chicken and Tomatoes

(17) Delhi Hunter Chicken Curry

(18) Goan Chicken Moelho

(19) Jerk Chicken

(20) Kerala Chicken Curry

(21) Malay Chicken Curry

(22) Nagore Chicken Curry

(23) Nonya Chicken Curry

(24) Rizala Chicken

(25) Singapore Style Chicken Curry

(26) Special Chow Mein

(27) Sri-Lankan Curried Chicken

(28) Thai Fried Rice

(29) Thai Green Curry

(30) Trinidadian Curried Chicken

(31) Vietnamese Chicken Curry

(32) Yellow Curried Chicken