Commission v. Germany and Article 36 Protection of Human Life and Health

Lee, Mimi Y. | January 1, 1988

Free movement of goods is a fundamental principle of the European Community. Article 36 of the EEC Treaty, however, provides important exceptions to the principle of free movement of goods as embodied in Article 30. Recently, the Court of Justice of the European Community (“Court of Justice” or “Court”) has begun to develop a significant body of case law on the protection of human health exception of Article 36. This development coincides with the increasing public interest in consumer protection law, particularly with regard to the production of food-stuffs. Commission of the European Communities v. Federal Republic of Germany presents the Court’s most recent attempt to define the protection of human health exception. In Commission v. Germany, the Court held that the Reinheitsgebot or beer purity laws of the Federal Republic of Germany (“Germany”) violated Article 30 and could not be justified under the Article 36 protection of human health exception. This Note examines Commission v. Germany for the legal definition it gives to the Article 36 exception for the protection of human health. Further, this Note studies the way in which Commission v. Germany raises questions concerning the degree of success the European Community has had in attempting to realize a barrier-free common market.