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Judgment of the Court (Fifth Chamber) of 22 September 1992.

Camille Petit v Office national des pensions.

C-153/91 • ECLI:EU:C:1992:354 • 61991CJ0153

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Camille Petit v Office national des pensions.

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Keywords

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Freedom of movement for persons ° Workers ° Provisions of the Treaty ° Not applicable to a situation confined within a single Member State

(EEC Treaty, Arts 48 and 51; Council Regulation No 1408/71, Arts 3 and 84(4))

Summary

Articles 48 and 51 of the Treaty and Regulation No 1408/71 on the application of social security schemes to employed persons, to self-employed persons and to members of their families moving within the Community, in particular Article 3 and Article 84(4) thereof, do not apply to situations which are confined in all respects within a single Member State.

Parties

In Case C-153/91,

REFERENCE to the Court under Article 177 of the EEC Treaty by the Tribunal du Travail, Brussels, for a preliminary ruling in the proceedings pending before that court between

Camille Petit

and

Office National des Pensions (ONP),

on the interpretation of Articles 2, 3 and 84(4) of Council Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 of 14 June 1971 on the application of social security schemes to employed persons, to self-employed persons and to members of their families moving within the Community, as amended and updated by Council Regulation (EEC) No 2001/83 of 2 June 1983 (OJ 1983 L 230, p. 6), and on the interpretation of Articles 48(1) and 51 of the EEC Treaty,

THE COURT (Fifth Chamber),

composed of: R. Joliet, President of the Chamber, J.C. Moitinho de Almeida, G.C. Rodríguez Iglesias, M. Zuleeg and D.A.O. Edward, Judges,

Advocate General: C.O. Lenz,

Registrar: H.A. Ruehl, Principal Administrator,

after considering the written observations submitted on behalf of:

° the Office National des Pensions, by R. Masyn, General Administrator,

° the Belgian Government, by J. Devadder, Adviser in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, External Trade and Development Cooperation, acting as Agent,

° the United Kingdom, by Lucinda Hudson, of the Treasury Solicitor' s Department, acting as Agent,

° the Commission of the European Communities, by Maria Patakia, of its Legal Service, acting as Agent,,

having regard to the report of the Judge-Rapporteur,

after hearing the Opinion of the Advocate General at the sitting on 9 July 1992,

gives the following

Judgment

Grounds

1 By judgment of 3 June 1991, which was received at the Court on 10 June 1991, the Tribunal du Travail, (Labour Court), Brussels, (Eleventh Chamber) referred to the Court for a preliminary ruling under Article 177 of the EEC Treaty three questions on the interpretation of Articles 2, 3 and 84(4) of Council Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 of 14 June 1971 on the application of social security schemes to employed persons, to self-employed persons and to members of their families moving within the Community, as amended and updated by Council Regulation (EEC) No 2001/83 of 2 June 1983 (OJ 1983 L 230, p. 6), and on the interpretation of Articles 48(1) and 51 of the EEC Treaty.

2 The questions arose in proceedings brought by Mr Petit against the Office National des Pensions (National Pensions Office). Mr Petit brought the action by originating application drawn up in French.

3 Under the Belgian Law on the use of languages in court proceedings, the use of Dutch is prescribed for Mr Petit' s action. If another language is used, the originating application is void and the court has to find of its own motion that that document is void.

4 Mr Petit is a Belgian national. It appears from the national court' s judgment that he worked solely in Belgium.

5 The Tribunal du Travail, Brussels, decided to stay the proceedings and refer the following questions to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling:

"1. Must Article 2 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 of 14 June 1971 on the application of social security schemes to employed persons, to self-employed persons and to members of their families moving within the Community be interpreted as meaning that that regulation, and in particular, if not solely, Article 84(4) thereof, applies to workers who have been subject to the legislation of only one Member State, namely that of which they hold the nationality and in whose territory they have lived and worked?

2. Must Article 3 of Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 be interpreted as meaning that it prohibits any discrimination whether to the benefit or the detriment of nationals of a State in relation to nationals of the other Member States of European Communities who are established in the territory of the first State?

3. Must Articles 48(1) and 51 of the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, signed in Rome on 25 March 1957, be interpreted as meaning that freedom of movement for workers must be secured not only as between the Member States of the European Communities but also within those States, so that measures adopted by the Council of the European Communities in order to implement such freedom of movement, in particular Article 84(4) of Regulation No 1408/71, must apply also to workers who avail themselves of freedom of movement in order to reside successively in different administrative or judicial regions within the State whose nationality they hold, regions to which different rules of law apply, particularly as regards the language in which the originating application to the courts having jurisdiction to hear matters covered by Article 4 of Regulation No 1408/71 is to be drawn up?"

6 Reference is made to the Report of the Judge-Rapporteur for a fuller account of facts of the main proceedings, 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.

7 By its questions, the national court seeks to establish whether Articles 48(1) and 51 of the EEC Treaty and Regulation No 1408/71, in particular Articles 3 and 84(4) thereof, apply to situations such as the one described above.

8 As the Court has consistently held, the provisions of the Treaty on freedom of movement and the regulations implementing those provisions cannot be applied to activities which are confined in all respects within a single Member State (see, in particular, Case C-332/90 Steen v Deutsche Bundespost [1992] ECR I-341, paragraph 9, and Case C-60/91 Morais [1992] ECR I-2085, paragraph 7), and the question whether that is the case depends on findings of fact which it is for the national court to make.

9 All the facts established in the national court' s judgment are confined within a single Member State, the Kingdom of Belgium. The applicant in the main proceedings is a Belgian national, has always resided in Belgium and has worked only in the territory of that Member State.

10 Accordingly, the reply to be given to the national court is that Articles 48(1) and 51 of the EEC Treaty and Regulation No 1408/71, in particular Articles 3 and 84(4) thereof, do not apply to situations which are confined in all respects within a single Member State.

Decision on costs

Costs

11 The costs incurred by the Belgian 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 action/proceedings pending before the national court, the decision on costs is a matter for that court.

Operative part

On those grounds,

THE COURT (Fifth Chamber),

in answer to the questions referred to it by the Tribunal de Travail Brussels, of 3 June 1991, hereby rules:

Articles 48(1) and 51 of the EEC Treaty and Council Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 of 14 June 1971 on the application of social security schemes to employed persons, to self-employed persons and to members of their families moving within the Community, as amended and updated by Council Regulation (EEC) No 2001/83 of 2 June 1983, in particular Articles 3 and 84(4) thereof, do not apply to situations which are confined in all respects within a single Member State.

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