Rewe-Zentral AG v Bundesmonopolverwaltung für Branntwein

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Cassis de Dijon
European stars.svg
Submitted 22 May 1978
Decided 20 February 1979
Full case nameRewe-Zentral AG v Bundesmonopolverwaltung für Branntwein
Case numberC-120/78
Language of ProceedingsGerman
Court composition
Pierre Pescatore
Hans Kutscher
Advocate General
Francesco Capotorti
Legislation affecting
Art 34 TFEU
Quantitative restriction on trade, Measures of equivalent effect

Rewe-Zentral v Bundesmonopolverwaltung für Branntwein (1979) Case 120/78, popularly known as Cassis de Dijon after its subject matter, is an EU law decision of the European Court of Justice. The Court held that a regulation applying to both imported and to domestic goods (an "indistinctly applicable measure") that produces an effect equivalent to a quantitative import restriction is an unlawful restriction on the free movement of goods. The case is a seminal judicial interpretation of article 34 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.


Rewe was a large German importer and retailer which wanted to sell a type of crème de cassis, a fruit liqueur, known as Cassis de Dijon. This was produced in France and contained between 15-20 per cent alcohol by volume (ABV). Germany, however, had a law specifying that products sold as fruit liqueurs be over 25 per cent ABV. The Bundesmonopolverwaltung für Branntwein (Federal Monopoly Administration for Spirits), part of the Federal Ministry of Finance, informed Rewe that it would not be able to market Cassis in Germany as a liqueur.

Rewe challenged the decision as a breach of European law, specifically of Article 30 Treaty of Rome (TEC).


A bottle of Cassis de Dijon, a form of Creme de Cassis

The ECJ held that the German legislation represented a measure having an effect equivalent to a quantitative restriction on imports and was thus in breach of article 34 of the Treaty:


Swiss political pamphlet arguing against the adoption of the "Cassis de Dijon" principle in 2009

In 2010, Switzerland unilaterally adopted this principle: generally, goods that can be lawfully produced or marketed according to standards applying in the European Union can also be lawfully produced or marketed in Switzerland or imported from the EU into Switzerland.[1]


  1. ^ Neue Zürcher Zeitung: Erleichterte EU-Importe, 20 May 2010.‹See Tfd›(in German)


  • Kai Purnhagen The Virtue of Cassis de Dijon 25 Years Later – It is Not Dead, it just Smells Funny, in: Varieties of European Economic Law and Regulation, hrsg. Kai Purnhagen, Peter Rott, New York, Heidelberg, Dordrecht u.a.: Springer, 2014, 315–342, ISBN 978-94-007-7109-3
  • Craig, Paul; de Búrca, Gráinne (2007). EU Law, Text, Cases and Materials (4th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 677–679. ISBN 978-0-19-927389-8.
  • Steiner, Josephine; Woods, Lorna; Twigg-Flesner, Christian (2006). EU Law (9th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 378–382, 397. ISBN 978-0-19-927959-3.
  • Brettschneider, Jörg, Das Herkunftslandprinzip und mögliche Alternativen aus ökonomischer Sicht, Auswirkungen auf und Bedeutung für den Systemwettbewerb, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-428-14463-1.

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