Language of document :

Reference for a preliminary ruling from the Grondwettelijk Hof (Belgium) lodged on 29 October 2012 - Pelckmans Turnhout NV v Walter Van Gastel Balen NV and Others

(Case C-483/12)

Language of the case: Dutch

Referring court

Grondwettelijk Hof

Parties to the main proceedings

Applicant: Pelckmans Turnhout NV

Defendants: Walter Van Gastel Balen NV, Walter Van Gastel NV, Walter Van Gastel Lifestyle NV, Walter Van Gastel Schoten NV

Questions referred

Must the principle of equality, which is enshrined in Article 6(3) of the Treaty on the European Union and in Articles 20 and 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in conjunction with Articles 15 and 16 of that Charter and Articles 34 to 36, 56 and 57 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, be interpreted as precluding rules such as those contained in Articles 8, 9, 16 and 17 of the Law of 10 November 2006 on opening hours in commerce, crafts and services, in so far as the obligation contained in those articles that a weekly closing day be provided for:

(i)    does not apply to traders established in railway stations or in units of establishment of public transport companies, to sales in airports and port areas open to international travel or to sales in petrol stations or units of establishment located in motorway areas, but does apply to traders established in other locations,

(ii)    does not apply to traders engaged in the sale of goods such as newspapers, magazines, tobacco products and smoking accessories, telephone cards and National Lottery products, the sale of audiovisual media and video games and the sale of ice cream, but does apply to traders who offer other goods for sale,

(iii)    applies only to the retail trade, namely to undertakings which are engaged in sales to consumers, whilst it does not apply to other traders,

(iv)    entails, at least for traders who carry out their activity by means of a physical sales point and who are in direct contact with consumers, a significantly larger restriction than for traders who carry out their activity via an online shop or possibly via other forms of distance selling?