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Judgment of the Court (Second Chamber) of 19 March 1992.

Criminal proceedings against José António Batista Morais.

Reference for a preliminary ruling: Tribunal de Relação de Lisboa - Portugal.

Free movement of persons and services - Purely internal situation - Community driving licence - Harmonization.

Case C-60/91.

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Judgment of 19 March 1992, Batista Morais (C-60/91, ECR 1992 p. I-2085) ECLI:EU:C:1992:140

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Criminal proceedings against José António Batista Morais.

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Keywords

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1. Free movement of persons - Freedom of establishment - Freedom to provide services - Provisions of the Treaty - Inapplicability in a situation purely internal to a Member State

(EEC Treaty, Arts 52 and 59)

2. Competition - Community rules - Obligations of Member States - Prohibition on encouraging anti-competitive practices which may affect trade between Member States - Legislation restricting the activities of driving schools to the territory of the municipality in which they are established - Compatibility

(EEC Treaty, second paragraph of Art. 5 and Art. 85(1))

3. Transport - Community driving licence - Test - Determination of the location of the driving test - Discretionary power of Member States - Obligation to ensure instruction on motorways - None

(Council Directive 80/1263/EEC)

Summary

1. The rules of the EEC Treaty on the free movement of persons and services do not apply to barriers affecting nationals of a Member State in that State where there is no connecting factor between the situation of those nationals and any of the situations envisaged by Community law.

2. The Member States are bound under the second paragraph of Article 5 of the Treaty not to take or to maintain in force measures of a legislative nature which may render ineffective the competition rules applicable to undertakings. National legislation is, however, such as to hinder the application of Article 85(1) of the Treaty only if the anti-competitive practices which it encourages are likely to affect trade between Member States, which presupposes that it has the effect of denying access to the market to new national and foreign competitors. That is not so in the case of legislation which limits the activities of a driving school to the municipality in which it is established.

3. Directive 80/1263 relating to the introduction of a Community driving licence confers on Member States, with regard to the location of the driving test, a discretionary power which enables them to take account not only of the accessibility of certain types of highway but also of considerations relating to the need to ensure both uniform testing throughout the territory of a Member State and road safety. It does not therefore require them to hold the driving test on motorways whenever they are accessible from the test centre; nor, therefore, are the Member States under any obligation to ensure that driving instruction can be given on highways of that type.

Parties

In Case C-60/91,

REFERENCE to the Court under Article 177 of the EEC Treaty by the Tribunal de Relação de Lisboa (Court of Second Instance, Lisbon), for a preliminary ruling in the criminal proceedings before that court against

José António Batista Morais,

on the interpretation of the rules of the Treaty on the free movement of persons and services and on competition, and of Council Directive 80/1263/EEC of 4 December 1980 on the introduction of a Community driving licence (Official Journal 1980 L 375, p. 1),

THE COURT (Second Chamber),

composed of: F.A. Schockweiler, President of the Chamber, G.F. Mancini and J.L. Murray, Judges,

Advocate General: F.G. Jacobs,

Registrar: H.A. Ruehl, Principal Administrator,

after considering the written observations submitted on behalf of:

- José António Batista Morais, by João Casinha, of the Lisbon Bar;

- the public prosecutor of the Tribunal de Relação (Court of Second Instance), Lisbon, by Maria Helena Delgado Antonio, State Prosecutor;

- the Portuguese Government, by Luis Inêz Fernandes, Head of the Legal Service of the General Directorate for the European Communities of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and Pedro Coelho, member of the Legal Service of the General Directorate for the European Communities of that ministry, acting as Agents;

- for the United Kingdom, by John E. Collins, of the Treasury Solicitor' s Department, acting as Agent;

- for the Commission of the European Communities, by António Caeiro, Legal Adviser, and Xavier Lewis, member of the Legal Service, acting as Agents;

having regard to the Report for the Hearing,

after hearing the oral observations of the Portuguese Government, the United Kingdom, represented by John E. Collins and Andrew Macnab, Barrister, and the Commission at the hearing on 14 January 1992,

after hearing the Opinion of the Advocate General delivered at the sitting on 13 February 1992,

gives the following

Judgment

Grounds

1 By order of 10 December 1990, which was received at the Court on 13 February 1991, the Tribunal de Relação de Lisboa referred to the Court for a preliminary ruling under Article 177 of the EEC Treaty four questions on the interpretation of the rules of the Treaty on the free movement of persons and services and on competition, and of Council Directive 80/1263/EEC of 4 December 1980 on the introduction of a Community driving licence.

2 Those questions were raised in criminal proceedings brought by the public prosecutor against José António Batista Morais, an instructor with a driving school established in Lisbon, who was charged with giving driving lessons on the motorway in a municipality adjoining the municipality of Lisbon. Portuguese legislation makes it an offence to give driving lessons in a municipality other than that in which the driving school is established.

3 Mr Batista Morais appealed against the judgment of the lower court in which he was fined, on the ground that the national legislation was contrary to Directive 80/1263 in so far as it did not permit instruction to be given on motorways.

4 The Tribunal de Relação, Lisbon, hearing the appeal, decided to stay the proceedings pending a preliminary ruling by the Court on the following questions:

"(1) May or must Article 7(1) of Decree-Law 6/82 be regarded as infringing the rules on the free movement of persons and services and, in particular, Articles 52, 53, 54(2) and (3)(c), 56 and 57 of the Treaty (on the right of establishment), Articles 60(a), 63(2) and 65 of the Treaty (on the free movement of services), and Article 85(1)(c) (on the rules of competition), and as such is it inapplicable in national law?

(2) Must the rules on the free movement of persons, services and goods laid down in the Treaty, which relate to the citizens or goods of one State in connection with situations arising in another Member State of the Community, also be applied in cases where barriers to freedom of movement may arise in relation to citizens of only one State and within its geographical territory?

(3) May or must Directive 80/1263/EEC, although it concerns driving tests, be interpreted as meaning that driving instruction itself is subject to similar requirements, such as the requirement that it should be given, as far as possible, on motorways and in the different traffic conditions as advised for the purposes of the test?

(4) Finally, may or must the directive in question be interpreted as being simply a directive within the meaning of Article 189 of the Treaty, inasmuch as it is left to the national authorities to determine the choice of form and methods for its implementation (that is to say, where it needs merely to be implemented) or, must it, on the contrary, notwithstanding its designation as a directive, be regarded as a generally applicable and mandatory directive of the kind adopted pursuant to Articles 56, 63 and 87 of the Treaty?"

5 Reference is made to the Report for the Hearing for a fuller account of the facts of the case, the relevant provisions, the procedure and the written observations submitted to the Court, which are mentioned or discussed hereinafter only in so far as is necessary for the reasoning of the Court.

6 In view of the logical structure of the reasoning, it is appropriate to deal first with Question 2 which, in substance, seeks to ascertain whether the rules of the Treaty on the free movement of persons and services apply to barriers affecting nationals of a Member State within the territory of that State.

7 In answering that question, it should be noted that the Court has consistently held that the Treaty provisions on the free movement of persons and services cannot be applied to activities which are confined in all respects within a single Member State (see, most recently, the judgment in Cases C-330/90 and C-331/90, Lopez Brea [1992] ECR I-323).

8 It appears from the facts, as established by the national court in its order for reference, that the dispute in the main proceedings concerns a Portuguese national who works in Portugal as a driving school instructor and that there is no factor connecting his situation to any of those envisaged by Community law.

9 The answer to Question 2 must therefore be that the rules of the Treaty on the free movement of persons and services do not apply to barriers affecting nationals of a Member State in that State, where there is no connecting factor between the situation of those nationals and any of the situations envisaged by Community law.

10 In view of the answer to Question 2, Question 1 is to be understood as seeking to ascertain whether it is contrary to Article 85(1) of the EEC Treaty for national legislation to limit the activities of a driving school to the municipality in which it is established.

11 In that connection, it should be noted that the Court has consistently held that Member States are obliged under the second paragraph of Article 5 of the Treaty not to detract, by means of national legislation, from the full and uniform application of Community law or from the effectiveness of its implementing measures; nor may they introduce or maintain in force measures, even of a legislative nature, which may render ineffective the competition rules applicable to undertakings (see, in particular, the judgment in Case 231/83 Cullet v Leclerc [1985] ECR 305, at paragraph 16).

12 There is no need to examine whether, and to what extent, legislation of the type at issue in the main proceedings encourages, renders obligatory or renders unavoidable any one of the business practices referred to in Article 85 of the Treaty, it is sufficient to note that that provision can be applied only to the extent to which allegedly anti-competitive practices may affect trade between Member States.

13 That condition would be satisfied only if it could be established that the national legislation, operating in a like manner to a network of similar agreements made in a reference market, would have the effect of denying access to that market to new national and foreign competitors (see the judgment in Case C-234/89 Delimitis v Henninger Braeu AG [1991] ECR I-935). However, national legislation of the type at issue in the main proceedings is not capable of having such an effect.

14 In those circumstances, the answer to Question 1 must be that Article 85 of the Treaty does not preclude national legislation from limiting the activities of a driving school to the municipality in which it is established.

15 In Question 3, the national court asks, in substance, whether Directive 80/1263 requires Member States to hold the driving test on motorways, whenever they are within reach of the test centre, and also to ensure therefore that driving instruction can be given on highways of that type.

16 In answering that question, it should be noted first that Directive 80/1263 was adopted as part of the progressive harmonization of national arrangements for driving tests and merely lays down in Annex II a number of minimum requirements without aiming to achieve total harmonization of the rules on driving tests.

17 Next, it should be borne in mind that Annex II, entitled "Minimum Requirements for Driving Tests" provides in point 9, with regard to the location of the test, that the part of the test relating to the candidate' s behaviour in traffic must, wherever possible, be conducted on roads outside built-up areas and on motorways as well as in urban traffic.

18 It follows both from the aim of the directive and from the wording of point 9 of Annex II that the Member States have, when determining where the driving test is to be taken, a discretionary power which enables them to take account not only of the accessibility of certain types of highway but also of considerations relating to the need to ensure both uniform testing throughout the territory of a Member State and road safety.

19 In those circumstances, the answer to Question 3 must be that Directive 80/1263 does not require Member States to hold the driving test on motorways whenever they are accessible from the test centre; nor, therefore, are the Member States under any obligation to ensure that driving instruction can be given on highways of that type.

20 In the light of the answer to Question 3, there is no need to answer Question 4.

Decision on costs

Costs

21 The costs incurred by the Portuguese Government, the United Kingdom and the Commission of the European Communities, which have submitted observations to the Court, are not recoverable. Since these proceedings are, for the parties to the main proceedings, a step in the proceedings pending before the national court, the decision on costs is a matter for that court.

Operative part

On those grounds,

THE COURT (Second Chamber),

in answer to the questions referred to it by the Tribunal de Relação, Lisbon, by order of 10 December 1990, hereby rules:

1. The rules of the EEC Treaty on the free movement of persons and services do not apply to barriers affecting nationals of a Member State in that State, where there is no connecting factor between the situation of those nationals and any of the situations envisaged by Community law;

2. Article 85 of the EEC Treaty does not preclude national legislation from limiting the activities of a driving school to the municipality in which it is established;

3. Council Directive No 80/1263/EEC of 4 December 1980 relating to the introduction of a Community driving licence does not require Member States to hold the driving test on motorways whenever they are accessible from the test centre; nor, therefore, are the Member States under any obligation to ensure that driving instruction can be given on highways of that type.

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