Internationale Handelsgesellchaft mbH v Einfuhr- & Vorratsstelle fur Getreide & Futtermittel (Case 11/70)  ECR 1125; before the ECJ
1. By order of 18 March 1970 received at the Court on 26 March I970, the Verwaltungsgericht Frankfurt-am-Main, pursuant to Article 177 of the EEC Treaty, has referred to the Court of Justice two questions on the validity of the system of export licences and of the deposit attaching to them - hereinafter referred to as 'the system of deposits'- provided for by Regulation no. 120/67/EEC of the Council on the common organization of the market in cereals and Regulation no. 473/67/EEC of the Commission on import and export licences.
2. It appears from the grounds of the order referring the matter that the Verwaltungsgericht has until now refused to accept the validity of the provisions in question and that for this reason it considers it to be essential to put an end to the existing legal uncertainty. According to the evaluation of the Verwaltungsgericht, the system of deposits is contrary to certain structural principles of national constitutional law which must be protected within the framework of Community law, with the result that the primacy of supranational law must yield before the principles of the German Basic Law. More particularly, the system of deposits runs counter to the principles of freedom of action and of disposition, of economic liberty, and of proportionality arising in particular from Articles 2(1) and 14 of the Basic Law. The obligation to import or export resulting from the issue of the licences, together with the deposit attaching thereto, constitutes an excessive intervention in the freedom of disposition in trade, as the objective of the regulations could have been attained by methods of intervention having less serious consequences.
The protection of fundamental rights in the Community legal system
3. Recourse to the legal rules of concepts of national law in order to judge the validity of measures adopted by the institutions of the Community would have an adverse effect on the uniformity and efficacy of Community law. The validity of such measures can only be judged in the light of Community law. In fact, the law stemming from the Treaty, an independent source of law, cannot because of its very nature be overridden by rules of national law, however framed, without being deprived of its character as Community law and without the legal basis of the Community itself being called in question. Therefore the validity of a Community measure or its effect within a Member State cannot be affected by allegations that its runs counter to either fundamental rights as formulated by the constitution of that State or the principle of a national constitutional structure.
4. However, an examination should be made as to whether or not any analogous guarantee inherent in Community law has been disregarded. In fact, respect for fundamental rights forms an integral part of the general principles of law protected by the Court of Justice. The protection of such rights, whilst inspired by the constitutional traditions common to the Member States, must be ensured within the framework of the structure and objectives of the Community. It must therefore be ascertained, in the light of the doubts expressed by the Verwaltungsgericht, whether the system of deposits has infringed rights of a fundamental nature, respect for which must be ensured in the Community legal system.