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General principle:

The EU must be regarded as a unique legal order distinct from either national or international Law.


Van Gend en Loos v Nederlandse Administratie der Belastingen (Case 26/62) [1963] ECR 1


The case was related to the introduction of a Dutch law on taxes, relatively increasing the duty payable and resulting on a loss suffered by the claimant that which claimed an incompatibility with European Law. The importer was charged 8% tax on importation of chemicals from Germany, placing him at a disadvantage over domestic sellers.

Preliminary Ruling:

“The Community constitutes a new legal order in international law for whose benefits the states have limited their sovereign rights, albeit within limited fields”.


The EEC Treaty that was at stake in the case was not an ordinary international Treaty because Members agreed to limit their sovereignty rights. Van Gend en Loos does not give a complete definition of supremacy. However, by declaring that the Treaty had established a new legal order in which Member States had limited their sovereign rights, the judgment paved the way for the establishment of this principle of EU law.

A clear conclusion can be made about the inputs of Costa and Van Gend en Loos. The Member States have transfer certain of their sovereign powers to the Community in order to make law that would bind them and their individual. As a result Member States cannot introduce new national laws that would contradict EU Law.

Van Gend en Loos


A directive must be "clear and specific" and "unconditional" according to the Van Gend en Loos principle in order to qualify as EU law. In addition, per Pubblico Ministero v. Ratti, the implementation period must have expired. In this instance, the implementation period has not expired; rather, it has been incorrectly transposed into national law, providing less protection by not requiring the state to install protective lead doors, and the Radiation Safety Act has failed to establish the Italian national x-ray authority. The logic of the Ratti decision applies when a Member State implements a directive only partially or inaccurately.

Van Gend en Loos

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