C-427/06 Bartsch v Boasch und Siemens Hausgerate [2008]

In C-427/06 Bartsch v Boasch und Siemens Hausgerate [2008] ECR I-7245, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) addressed the question of whether a general principle of EU law, specifically non-discrimination on the grounds of age, applied in a case where there was no link to EU law.

The case arose when a company provident fund refused to pay Mrs Bartsch a survivor’s pension following her husband’s death. The pension scheme guidelines stipulated that a survivor’s pension would not be granted if the surviving spouse was more than 15 years younger than the deceased. Mrs Bartsch, considering this discriminatory, sought a declaration of entitlement to the pension from the Federal Labour Court.

The ECJ ruled that the general principle of non-discrimination on the grounds of age did not apply in this case. The judgment emphasised that for EU law principles to be applicable, a case must have a link to EU law. This link is absent when the transposition period of the relevant directive has not expired, and there is no national implementing measure.

The court clarified that when national rules fall within the scope of EU law, it must provide the criteria of interpretation needed by the national court to determine their compatibility with general EU law principles. However, in this instance, neither the Employment Equality Framework Directive nor Article 13 EC (now Article 19 TFEU), under which the Directive was adopted, were applicable to bring the case within the scope of EU law.

The court further held that the pension guidelines did not constitute a measure implementing the Directive. Additionally, since the death of Mr. Bartsch occurred before the expiration of the transposition period, the Directive was not applicable. The judgment distinguished the case from Mangold, where the national rules were deemed a measure implementing a Community Directive, emphasising the absence of such implementation in the Bartsch case.
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