Key facts of the case:
Reference for a preliminary ruling — Directive 98/59/EC — Approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies — Article 49 TFEU — Freedom of establishment — Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union — Article 16 — Freedom to conduct a business — National legislation conferring upon an administrative authority the power to oppose collective redundancies after assessing the conditions in the labour market, the situation of the undertaking and the interests of the national economy — Acute economic crisis — Particularly high national unemployment rate
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:
- Council Directive 98/59/EC of 20 July 1998 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies must be interpreted as not precluding, in principle, national legislation, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, under which, if there is no agreement with the workers’ representatives on projected collective redundancies, an employer can effect such redundancies only if the competent national public authority which must be notified of the projected collective redundancies does not adopt, within the period prescribed by that legislation and after examining the documents in the file and assessing the conditions in the labour market, the situation of the undertaking and the interests of the national economy, a reasoned decision not to authorise some or all of the projected redundancies. The position is different, however, if — a matter which is, as the case may be, for the referring court to ascertain — in the light of the three assessment criteria to which that legislation refers and of the specific application of them by the public authority, subject to review by the courts having jurisdiction, that legislation proves to have the consequence of depriving the provisions of that directive of their practical effect.
Article 49 TFEU must be interpreted as precluding, in a situation such as that at issue in the main proceedings, national legislation such as that referred to in the first sentence of the first paragraph of this point.
- The fact that the context in a Member State may be one of acute economic crisis and a particularly high unemployment rate is not such as to affect the answers set out in point 1 of this operative part.