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Case 6/64 Costa v ENEL [1964]


  • Italy is a member of the EU, or the European Economic Community (EEC) as was
  • An Italian citizen claimed that he need not pay a higher price for electricity as a result of the nationalisation of the Italian electricity sector, in violation of EEC law


  • Did the nationalisation violate EU law?
  • Could ENEL (the nationalised electricity company) be prevented from suing Costa for his non-payment in the European Court of Justice?


  • Only the Italian Constitutional Court could decide whether the nationalisation violated EEC law
  • In turn, they would also be required to decide whether ENEL could sue Costa


  • In principle, as the Treaty of Rome has no direct buy xanax fast delivery effect on individual citizens, a claim could not be bought against a government by anyone except the Commission, so the claim failed
  • The Court of Justice did provide the following guidance, however:
    • [EU] law is an independent source of law
    • It may not be overridden by domestic legal provisions
    • A contrary view would undermine the Union’s character and affect its ability to achieve its objectives
  • Where the case in question is the result of questions asked under a preliminary reference procedure, the Court of Justice of the European Union may extrapolate from the questions asked
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