Procureur du Roi v Dassonville: The Judicial Dossier Behind the Measure Equivalent to Trade Restriction Formula

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. The hidden sources in written observations: Dassonville and the EEC’s definition of MEEQR. – II.1. New sources revealed. – II.2. MEEQR as an ongoing discussion in EEC institutions. – III. Behind the CJEU formula, the story of wholesalers and the technicity of trade regulations. – III.1. The unseen critics: personal attacks and blame on the neighbour. – III.2. Technicity of MEEQR, the importance of evidence in the procedural dossier. – IV. Conclusion.

Abstract: In 1974 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) stated that measures having an effect equivalent to quantitative restrictions were prohibited. The famous Dassonville formula is known and repeated by judges and students alike. The release by the CJEU of the dossier de procédure provides however a new take on the story that led to one of its most notable decisions. The discovery of new arguments, sources and evidence offers valuable insights into the parties’ interests and goals. Behind the formula, technical and personal arguments are hidden. The dossier puts the Dassonville case back in its context. This context reveals how the definition of measure having equivalent effect to quantitative restrictions was an ongoing subject in all the institutions of European Economic Community. The dossier thus extends understanding of the Dassonville case and sheds light on the circumstances that led to the famous formula that was elaborated therein.

Keywords: European Court of Justice – trade – measure equivalent – archive – procedure – single market.

European Papers, Vol. 6, 2021, No 1, pp. 579-588
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/486

* Researcher, European University Institute,


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