The Banana Case

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Keywords
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TAX PROVISIONS - INTERNAL TAXATION - PROVISIONS OF THE TREATY - AIM - PROHIBITION OF DISCRIMINATION BETWEEN IMPORTED PRODUCTS AND SIMILAR OR COMPETING DOMESTIC PRODUCTS - SIMILAR OR COMPETING PRODUCTS - ASSESSMENT CRITERIA ( EEC TREATY, ART . 95 )

Summary
ARTICLE 95 OF THE TREATY AS A WHOLE AIMS TO ENSURE FREE MOVEMENT OF GOODS BETWEEN THE MEMBER STATES IN NORMAL CONDITIONS OF COMPETITION BY THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF PROTECTION WHICH RESULT FROM THE APPLICATION OF INTERNAL TAXATION WHICH DISCRIMINATES AGAINST PRODUCTS FROM OTHER MEMBER STATES, AND TO GUARANTEE THE COMPLETE NEUTRALITY OF INTERNAL TAXATION AS REGARDS COMPETITION BETWEEN DOMESTIC PRODUCTS AND IMPORTED PRODUCTS . IN ORDER TO ASSESS SIMILARITY BETWEEN DOMESTIC PRODUCTS AND IMPORTED PRODUCTS FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE PROHIBITION SET OUT IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 95, IT MUST BE CONSIDERED WHETHER THE PRODUCTS IN QUESTION HAVE SIMILAR CHARACTERISTICS AND MEET THE SAME CONSUMER NEEDS . IF THOSE CONDITIONS ARE NOT FULFILLED, THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 95 MAY APPLY . THE FUNCTION OF THAT PROVISION IS TO COVER ALL FORMS OF INDIRECT TAX PROTECTION IN THE CASE OF PRODUCTS WHICH, WITHOUT BEING SIMILAR WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 95, ARE NEVERTHELESS IN COMPETITION, EVEN PARTIAL, INDIRECT OR POTENTIAL COMPETITION, WITH EACH OTHER .

Parties
IN CASE 184/85
COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES, REPRESENTED BY ENRICO TRAVERSA, A MEMBER OF THE COMMISSION' S LEGAL DEPARTMENT, WITH AN ADDRESS FOR SERVICE IN LUXEMBOURG AT THE OFFICE OF G . KREMLIS, ALSO A MEMBER OF THE COMMISSION' S LEGAL DEPARTMENT, JEAN MONNET BUILDING, KIRCHBERG, APPLICANT,

V
ITALIAN REPUBLIC, REPRESENTED BY LUIGI FERRARI BRAVO, HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT FOR CONTENTIOUS DIPLOMATIC AFFAIRS, ACTING AS AGENT, ASSISTED BY SERGIO LAPORTA, AVVOCATO DELLO STATO, WITH AN ADDRESS FOR SERVICE IN LUXEMBOURG AT THE ITALIAN EMBASSY, DEFENDANT,

APPLICATION FOR A DECLARATION THAT, BY IMPOSING AND MAINTAINING IN FORCE A TAX ON FRESH AND DRIED BANANAS AND ON BANANA MEAL, THE ITALIAN REPUBLIC HAS FAILED TO FULFIL ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER ARTICLE 95 OF THE EEC TREATY, THE COURT

COMPOSED OF : Y . GALMOT, PRESIDENT OF CHAMBER, ACTING AS PRESIDENT, C . KAKOURIS, T . F . O' HIGGINS AND F . SCHOCKWEILER ( PRESIDENTS OF CHAMBERS ), G . BOSCO, T . KOOPMANS, O . DUE, U . EVERLING, K . BAHLMANN, R . JOLIET AND G . C . RODRIGUEZ IGLESIAS, JUDGES, ADVOCATE GENERAL : C . O . LENZ

REGISTRAR : H . A . RUEHL, PRINCIPAL ADMINISTRATOR
HAVING REGARD TO THE REPORT FOR THE HEARING AND FURTHER TO THE HEARING ON 17 JUNE 1986, AFTER HEARING THE OPINION OF THE ADVOCATE GENERAL DELIVERED AT THE SITTING ON 16 OCTOBER 1986, GIVES THE FOLLOWING

JUDGMENT

Grounds
1 BY APPLICATION LODGED AT THE COURT REGISTRY ON 13 JUNE 1985, THE COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES BROUGHT AN ACTION UNDER ARTICLE 169 OF THE EEC TREATY FOR A DECLARATION THAT, BY IMPOSING AND MAINTAINING IN FORCE A TAX ON THE CONSUMPTION OF FRESH AND DRIED BANANAS AND ON BANANA MEAL, THE ITALIAN REPUBLIC HAS FAILED TO FULFIL ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER ARTICLE 95 OF THE EEC TREATY . 2 IT APPEARS FROM THE REASONED OPINION AND FROM THE COMMISSION' S APPLICATION THAT THE FAILURE TO FULFIL OBLIGATIONS WITH WHICH THE ITALIAN GOVERNMENT IS CHARGED RELATES ONLY TO THE APPLICATION OF THE TAX IN QUESTION TO BANANAS FROM OTHER MEMBER STATES, AND IN PARTICULAR TO BANANAS FROM THE FRENCH OVERSEAS DEPARTMENTS . 3 THE APPLICATION IS BASED ESSENTIALLY ON THE VIEW THAT THE TAX ON THE CONSUMPTION OF BANANAS IS PROTECTIONIST AND CONTRARY TO THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 95 WITH REGARD TO TABLE FRUIT TYPICALLY PRODUCED IN ITALY . IT APPEARS FROM THE DOCUMENTS BEFORE THE COURT THAT TABLE FRUIT TYPICALLY PRODUCED IN ITALY INCLUDES APPLES, PEARS, PEACHES, PLUMS, APRICOTS, CHERRIES, ORANGES AND MANDARINS, FOR EXAMPLE . 4 ACCORDING TO THE ITALIAN GOVERNMENT' S REPLY TO A QUESTION PUT BY THE COURT, ITALIAN BANANA PRODUCTION, WHICH...
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