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The Direct Horizontal Effect of EU Fundamental Rights: ECJ 17 April 2018, Case C-414/16, Vera Egenberger v Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung e.V. and ECJ 11 September 2018, Case C-68/17, IR v JQ

  • Aurelia Colombi Ciacchi
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Abstract

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.

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Professor of Law and Governance, the University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

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References

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1 ECJ 17 April 2018, Case C-414/16, Vera Egenberger v Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung e.V.

2 ECJ 11 September 2018, Case C-68/17, IR v JQ.

3 ECJ 6 November 2018, Joined Cases C-569/16 and C-570/16, Stadt Wuppertal and Volker Willmeroth als Inhaber der TWI Technische Wartung und Instandsetzung Volker Willmeroth e.K. v Maria Elisabeth Bauer and Martina Broßonn. For a comment on this judgment see, in this issue, the case note on Bauer et al., E. Frantziou, ‘(Most of) The Charter of Fundamental Rights Is Horizontally Applicable’, EuConst [in press].

4 ECJ 6 November 2018, Case C-684/16, Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V. v Tetsuji Shimizu.

5 See text between n. 31 and n. 41 below.

6 Emphasis added.

7 Emphasis added.

8 Emphasis added.

9 The German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) limits judicial review in such cases to an assessment of the plausibility of the determination by the religious organisation of whether the activities in question are connected to its ethos in a way that religious affiliation is required of the employee. See the Bundesverfassungsgericht’s decision in the IR v JQ case: BVerfG 22 October 2014, 2 BvR 661/12, ECLI:DE:BVerfG:2014:rs20141022.2bvr066112. With regard to Egenberger see B. Göpfert, ‘EuGH entscheidet maßgeblich zum Kirchenarbeitsrecht (‘Egenberger’)’, Arbeitsrecht. Weltweit, 17 April 2018, ⟨www.arbeitsrecht-weltweit.de/2018/04/17/eugh-entscheidet-massgeblich-zum-kirchenarbeitsrecht-egenberger/⟩, visited 1 May 2019. See also L. Lourenç´o, ‘Religion, discrimination and the EU general principles’ gospel: Egenberger’, 56 Common Market Law Review (2019) p. 193 at p. 195.

10 Egenberger, paras. 52-53.

11 Ibid., para. 59.

12 Ibid., para. 69. On this proportionality requirement, see R. McCrea, ‘Salvation outside the church? The ECJ rules on religious discrimination in employment’, EU Law Analysis, 18 April 2018, available at ⟨eulawanalysis.blogspot.com/2018/09/religious-discrimination-at-work-can.html⟩, visited 29 April 2019. See also Lourenç´o, supra n. 9, p. 199.

13 IR v JQ, para. 61.

14 Egenberger, paras. 71-73 with references to DI.

15 On the horizontal effect of fundamental rights and principles in EU laws see inter alia Hartkamp, A., ‘The Effect of the EC Treaty in Private Law: On Direct and Indirect Horizontal Effects of Primary Community Law’, 3 European Review of Private Law (2010) p. 527 ; Spaventa, E., ‘The Horizontal Application of Fundamental Rights as General Principles of Union Law’, in Arnull, A. et al. (eds.), A Constitutional Order of States – Essays in Honour of Alan Dashwood (Hart Publishing 2011) p. 199 ; Leczykiewicz, D., ‘Horizontal Application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights’, 38 European Law Review (2013) p. 479 ; Mak, C., ‘Uncharte(re)d Territory: EU Fundamental Rights and National Private Law’, CESCL Working Paper Series No. 2013-05, Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2013-25 ; Ciacchi, A. Colombi, ‘European Fundamental Rights, Private Law and Judicial Governance’, in Micklitz, H.-W. (ed.), The Constitutionalisation of European Private Law (Oxford University Press 2014) p. 102 ; Frantziou, E., ‘The Horizontal Effect of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU: Rediscovering the Reasons for Horizontality’, 21 European Law Journal (2015) p. 657 ; Cherednychenko, O. and Reich, N., ‘The Constitutionalization of European Private Law: Gateways, Constraints, and Challenges’, 23 European Review of Private Law (2016) p. 797 ; Frantziou, E., The Horizontal Effect of Fundamental Rights in the European Union: A Constitutional Analysis (Oxford University Press 2019).

16 Opinion of AG Tanchev in Case C-414/16 Egenberger, ECLI:EU:C:2017:851, para. 119. On this divergence between the AG’s opinion and the Court’s decision, see Lourenç´o, supra n. 9, p. 198-199.

17 For a comment on Egenberger from the viewpoint of the horizontal effect doctrines, see E. Frantziou, ‘Mangold recast? The ECJ’s flirtation with Drittwirkung in Egenberger’, European Law Blog, 24 April 2018 ⟨europeanlawblog.eu/2018/04/24/mangold-recast-the-ecjs-flirtation-with-drittwirkung-in-egenberger/⟩, visited 29 April 2019. See also A. Colombi Ciacchi, ‘Egenberger and Comparative Law: A Victory of the Direct Horizontal Effect of Fundamental Rights’, 5 European Journal of Comparative Law and Governance (2018) p. 207.

18 IR v JQ, paras. 64-65 and 69, with reference to Egenberger.

19 Egenberger para. 76 (emphasis added), with reference to Association de médiation sociale; IR v JQ, para. 69 with reference to Egenberger.

20 Egenberger, para. 77.

21 ECJ 8 April 1976, Case C-43/1975, Defrenne.

22 ECJ 6 June 2000, Case C-281/98, Angonese.

23 ECJ 5 February 1963, Case 26/62, van Gend & Loos.

24 ECJ 12 December 1974, Case C-36/1974, Walrave and Koch.

25 Supra n. 21.

26 Supra n. 22.

27 ECJ 22 November 2005, Case C-144/04, Mangold.

28 ECJ 19 January 2010, Case C-555/07, Kücükdeveci.

29 ECJ 19 April 2016, Case C-441/14, Dansk Industri (DI).

30 See Colombi Ciacchi, supra n. 17, p. 207-208.

31 See the judgments referred by Colombi Ciacchi, supra n. 15, p. 113, fn. 56. On the direct and indirect horizontal application of fundamental rights to the adjudication of private litigation in nine European countries, see G. Brüggemeier et al. (eds.), Fundamental Rights and Private Law in the European Union. Volume 1: A Comparative Overview (Cambridge University Press 2010).

32 Walrave, supra n. 24; Defrenne, supra n. 21. See Colombi Ciacchi, supra n. 15, p. 113-114. For a relatively recent account of the horizontal effect of EU fundamental rights, see Fornasier, M., ‘The Impact of EU Fundamental Rights on Private Relationships: Direct or Indirect Effect?’, 23 European Review of Private Law (2015) p. 29 .

33 On judicial dialogue, see Cafaggi, F. and Law, S., ‘Judicial dialogue in European private law: introductory remarks’, in Cafaggi, F. and Law, S. (eds.), Judicial Cooperation in European Private Law (Edward Elgar 2017) p. 1 ff.

34 This and the following paragraphs (i.e. the text between n. 29 and n. 44) constitute an updated and shortened version of section IV (‘Angonese and the cross-national judicial dialogue on the horizontal effect of fundamental rights’) of A. Colombi Ciacchi, ‘European fundamental rights and private litigations: judicial dialogue and judicial governance’, in Cafaggi and Law, supra n. 33, p. 208 ff.

35 Colombi Ciacchi, supra n. 34, p. 216-218.

36 H.C. Nipperdey, ‘Gleicher Lohn der Frau für gleiche Arbeit’, Recht der Arbeit (1950) p. 121; H.C. Nipperdey, in L. Enneccerus and H.C. Nipperdey, Allgemeiner Teil des Bürgerlichen Rechts, 14th edn (Mohr 1954); H.C. Nipperdey, ‘Die Würde des Menschen’, in K.A. Bettermann et al. (eds.), Die Grundrechte. Handbuch der Theorie und Praxis der Grundrechte Vol. II: Die Freiheitsrechte in Deutschland (Duncker & Humblot 1954) p. 111, 143; H.C. Nipperdey, Grundrechte und Privatrecht (Scherpe 1961).

37 BAG 3 December 1954, BAGE 1, 185; NJW 1955, 606. For a comment in English see P. Beckmann et al., ‘Germany’, in Brüggemeier et al., supra n. 31, p. 253, 289-90.

38 BVerfG 15 January 1958, BVerfGE 7, 198. For a commentary in English, see G. Brüggemeier, ‘Constitutionalisation of Private Law – The German Perspective’, in T. Barkhuysen and S. Lindenbergh (eds), Constitutionalisation of Private Law (Brill/Nijhoff 2006) p. 59 ff.

39 G. Dürig, ‘Grundrechte und Zivilrechtsprechung’, in T. Maunz (ed.), Vom Bonner Grundgesetz zur gesamtdeutschen Verfassung, Festschrift zum 75. Geburtstag von Hans Nawiasky (Beck 1956) p. 176.

40 BAG 27 February 1985, BAGE 48, 123. For an overview of the scholarly debate on the direct and indirect horizontal effect of fundamental rights in labour relationships between 1950 and 1985, see D. Fabisch, Die unmittelbare Wirkung der Grundrechte im Arbeitsrecht (Peter Lang 2010) p. 223.

41 BAG 25 February 1998, BAGE 88, 118, 123; BAG 18 March 2009, BAGE 130, 43. See the comments to these judgments quoted in Colombi Ciacchi, supra n. 34, p. 218.

42 On the horizontal effect of fundamental rights and freedoms in Germany, see D. Looschelders and M. Makowsky, ‘The Influence of Human Rights and Basic Rights in German Private Law’, in V. Trstenjak and P. Weingerl (eds.), The Influence of Human Rights and Basic Rights in Private Law (Springer 2016) p. 295 ff, with further references. See also the other works quoted in Colombi Ciacchi, supra n. 34, p. 218.

43 For a comparison of the German and English horizontal effect approaches, see J.F. Krahé, ‘The Impact of Public Law Norms on Private Law Relationships – Horizontal Effect in German, English, ECHR and EU Law’, 2 European Journal of Comparative Law and Governance (2015) p. 124 with further references. See also the works quoted in Colombi Ciacchi, supra n. 34, p. 218.

44 C. Herrmann and C. Perfumi, ‘France’, in Brüggemeier et al., supra n. 31, p. 190, 206 ff; C. Mak et al., ‘Italy’, ibid., p. 325, 341.

45 See Colombi Ciacchi, supra n. 34, p. 219 and Colombi Ciacchi, supra n. 17, p. 211.

46 Ibid.

47 Colombi Ciacchi, supra n. 17, p. 211.

48 See P. Stein, ‘Der Fall Egenberger und das kirchliche Arbeitsrecht’, Humanistische Union, 22November 2018, ⟨www.humanistische-union.de/nc/aktuelles/aktuelles_detail/back/aktuelles/article/der-fall-egenberger-und-das-kirchliche-arbeitsrecht/⟩, visited 29 April 2019: the Bundesverfassungsgericht will ultimately have to decide whether to accept the correction from Luxembourg or, instead, to find a violation of the identity of the German Constitution.

49 On this phenomenon, see the collection of essays in Micklitz, supra n. 15.

50 Lourenç´o, supra n. 9, p. 200.

51 Frantziou, supra n. 17.

* Professor of Law and Governance, the University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

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