European Union law, Free Movement of Goods, article 34 of the TFEU, article 35 of the TFEU, European Court of Justice, article 36 of the TFEU, European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, EU trade
On December 22nd, the Yellow Vests, a movement of demonstrators, organised several roadblocks on all French borders, including the border between France and Italy, the Mont Blanc tunnel.
You would like to take legal actions against France for having failed to lift the roadblock to allow the transport of goods.
[...] Nevertheless, if a ban of such a demonstration would have been an unacceptable restriction of the aforementioned freedoms, France did not take appropriate measures to ensure that the free of movement of goods would be as minimally impacted as possible. Indeed, the demonstrations covered all French borders with its neighbourhood countries and were intended to damage the economy at a crucial time of the year, as it took place the week before Christmas. Therefore, the goal of the demonstrations was to restrict the free movement of goods. [...]
[...] Applicable law The liability of a Member State when the free movement of goods has been impacted by a demonstration The articles 34 and 35 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (hereafter the "TFEU") provide for the free movement of goods between the EU Member States. Therefore, these two articles prohibit any restriction regarding importation or exportation by suppressing all obstacles to the free movements of goods. In practice, they forbid any positive actions taken a Member State aiming at limiting the free movement of goods. But these provisions also make mandatory for Member States to protect this freedom. [...]
[...] The case of free movement of goods Dear Mr Casado, We understand that your company Gruppo Milanese Transporti (hereafter the "Company"), established in Italy, operates in the nearby countries, including France, using its 21 trucks. On December 22nd, the Yellow Vests, a movement of demonstrators, organised several roadblocks on all French borders, including the border between France and Italy, the Mont Blanc tunnel. The organisation of these roadblocks followed the mandatory French legal procedure. Therefore, the prefecture had been warned and authorized the demonstration. Truck drivers were only informed of the roadblocks on the morning of the demonstrations. From the beginning of the roadblock at 6 am, no truck could use the tunnel. [...]
[...] After 9am, Yellow Vests allowed one truck every fifteen minutes to go through the tunnel. The roadblock was finally lifted on December 23 around 10 am by decision of the Yellow Vests while the anti-riot special forces present at the scene did not intervene. As a result, nine of the Company's trucks were stopped at the Mont Blanc tunnel for several hours. Consequently, some of the Company's orders could not be fulfilled and the Company lost several contracts with clients. [...]
[...] Those demonstrations were part of a series of demonstrations that took place for several months in all the country. Therefore, France should have put in place measures in order to limit their impact. In conclusion, we have gathered valuable arguments stating that the infringement of the free movement of goods cannot be justified and that France should be held responsible for such an infringement of EU law. We remain at your disposal should you have any additional questions and to accompany you should you wish to go further on the judiciary process. [...]
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