The direct effect of the European Union law
This is a right of individuals to invoke before national courts apply the European Union Law in their legal relations with public administrations or individuals, regardless of whether there are texts in national law.
Rules with direct effect are part of the national legal systems of Member States, but this principle only applies to certain legal acts. The regulations have an immediate impact, and the other acts must contain obligations or/and rights in a clear, specific and unconditional manner.
Thus, the principle of direct effect guarantees the applicability and effectiveness of European Union law in all Member States.
Many of the fundamental principles in EU law were established by case laws; such is the case of the judgment NV
where the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has established the principle of the direct effect of the EU Law in the Member States.
In that judgment, to answer a question referred for a preliminary ruling, the CJEU had to rule on the scope and impact on individuals of Article 12 of the EEC Treaty to determine whether that article has an internal effect and whether individuals lay claim to individual rights which the courts must protect.
The transport company Van Gend &Loos had to pay when importing goods from Germany into the Netherlands, duties which are considered to be contrary to the rule of the EEC Treaty since that article prohibits the Member States from establishing new customs duties on importation and exportation or charges and from increasing those which they are already applying in their reciprocal commercial relations.
The CJEU, proclaiming the doctrine of direct effect, granted the transport company an explicit guarantee before the national court of its rights under Community rules.
The CJEU considered that the application of Article 12 does not require legislative intervention by the Member States and that the fact that this article designates the Member States as subjects of the obligation to abstain does not imply that their nationals cannot be the beneficiaries of that obligation, declares that this article must be interpreted as having direct effects and generating individual rights which the national courts must protect.
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