As you may have seen, the European Court of Justice made its ruling on the case I mentioned on Tuesday regarding Dutch authorities closing down a coffeeshop which sold marijuana to foreigners.
The ruling, from Advocate-General Yves Bot, caught some commentators by surprise in that he said that the move was not contrary to the free movement of goods because cannabis is not a legal substance.
In fact he went further, stating that the Dutch clampdown was necessary to keep public order which he said was threatened by floods of tourist crossing the border to buy drugs.
This was a commonsense ruling. It is ridiculous to suggest that banning the sale of a substance that is illegal in other countries is someway discriminatory.
Well done Monsieur Bot.
This is joint decision
The extent of the EU’s commitment to people’s freedom to buy and sell without barriers could even be extended to marijuana.
The European Court of Justice is due to rule on Thursday on whether a Dutch law banning “coffee” shops from selling dope to foreigners is, well, not in the spirit of European unity.
Council officials in Maastricht, in the south of the country, shut down the Easy Going cafe for selling the drug to a person living abroad.
The idea behind it was that they didn’t want hordes of tourists coming into town to buy weed – but their tough stance backfired.
The owner of Easy Going appealed the ruling and won in the Dutch courts before the matter was referred to the EU.
Judges will have to decide whether the EU’s laws on free movement of goods and a ban on discrimination between citizens from different European countries extends as far as a substance that isn’t even a legal commodity.
Johnny says: “Can I just get a coffee?”
Mrs Erasmus's best friend
Johnny’s first foray to the European Court of Justice today where a significant judgement has just been made.
The tale involves two rather rich diamond mining companies, Alrosa and De Beers. You know, De Beers, which was founded by Cecil Rhodes during his spare time after getting a country named after him.
In 2006 the European Commission was a bit concerned that De Beers, the biggest diamond company in the world was, rather than just being satisfied with its own stash, buying some from the second biggest diamond company in the world, Alrosa.
The EU thought this was all a bit too cosy and uncompetitive. In other words, it meant De Beers could control the whole diamonds industry.
The EU doesn’t like that kind of thing.
Today the court said the Commission was correct in demanding De Beers stop buying diamonds from its biggest “rival”, overturning a previous decision.
We can all sleep easier knowing that one is sorted.
We’ve got the EU to thank for the new lower cost of mobile phone roaming around Europe.
In 2007 the EU decided to cap the amount that mobile phone operators could charge people from using their handset abroad.
Unsurprisingly the mobile phone companies challenged this ruling, initially in Britain, saying it was anti-competitive.
But yesterday Europe’s highest court, the European Court of Justice, judged that the EU did have the right to impose the caps, in the interest of consumers.
Before 2007 it could cost a fortune, sometimes more than £2 a minute to call from one country to another within Europe.
When the rules came in they limited the cost to 49 euro cents (about 40p) to make calls and 24 euro cents (20p) to receive them when in another European country.
Not bad – but it gets better!
Next year costs have to reduce further – to 35 euro cents (29p) to call and 11 cents (9p) to receive.
Victory for Europe! This is what the EU should be for.
And it means Johnny can now go interrailing and still phone his mum (Mrs Erasmus).
Over and out.