Confédération nationale des producteurs de fruits et legumes and others / Council of the EEC

IDENTIFIER
61962CJ0016 | ECLI:EU:C:1962:47 | C-16/62
LANGUAGE
English
ORIGIN
FRA
COURT
Court of Justice
ADVOCATE GENERAL
Lagrange
AG OPINION
NO
REFERENCES MADE
5
REFERENCED
80
SECTOR
European Community (EEC/EC)
DOCUMENT TYPE
Judgment

Judgment



Parties

IN JOINED CASES 16 AND 17/62

  1. /62

  1. CONFEDERATION NATIONALE DES PRODUCTEURS DE FRUITS ET LEGUMES, AN ASSOCIATION DECLAREE WITH ITS HEAD OFFICE IN PARIS, REPRESENTED BY ITS BOARD IN OFFICE,

  1. FEDERATION NATIONALE DES PRODUCTEURS DE FRUITS, AN ASSOCIATION DECLAREE WITH ITS HEAD OFFICE IN PARIS, REPRESENTED BY ITS BOARD IN OFFICE,

  1. FEDERATION NATIONALE DES PRODUCTEURS DE LEGUMES, AN ASSOCIATION DECLAREE WITH ITS HEAD OFFICE IN PARIS, REPRESENTED BY ITS BOARD IN OFFICE,

  1. /62

FEDERATION NATIONALE DES PRODUCTEURS DE RAISINS DE TABLE, REPRESENTED BY ITS BOARD IN OFFICE,

ALL WITH AN ADDRESS FOR SERVICE IN LUXEMBOURG AT THE CHAMBERS OF GEORGES MARGUE, 20 RUE PHILIPPE-II, ASSISTED BY PIERRE DE FONT-REAULX, ADVOCATE OF THE PARIS COUR D'APPEL, APPLICANTS,

SUPPORTED BY

ASSEMBLEE PERMANENTE DES PRESIDENTS DE CHAMBRES D'AGRICULTURE, A PUBLIC ORGANIZATION WITH ITS HEAD OFFICE IN PARIS, REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT IN OFFICE, WITH AN ADDRESS FOR SERVICE IN LUXEMBOURG AT THE CHAMBERS OF GEORGES MARGUE, 20 RUE PHILIPPE-II, ASSISTED BY PIERRE DE FONT-REAULX, ADVOCATE OF THE PARIS COUR D'APPEL, INTERVENER,

Vv

COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY, REPRESENTED BY ITS LEGAL ADVISER, JACQUES MEGRET, ACTING AS AGENT, DEFENDANT,

Subject of the case

APPLICATION FOR ANNULMENT OF REGULATION N . 23 OF THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY, AND IN PARTICULAR THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 9 THEREOF,

Grounds

P.477

  1. - AS TO ADMISSIBILITY

  1. UNDER THE TERMS OF THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 173 OF THE EEC TREATY, ANY NATURAL OR LEGAL PERSON MAY INSTITUTE PROCEEDINGS AGAINST AN ACT OF THE COMMISSION OR THE COUNCIL ONLY IF THAT ACT CONSTITUTES EITHER A DECISION ADDRESSED TO THAT PERSON OR A DECISION WHICH, ALTHOUGH IN THE FORM OF A REGULATION OR A DECISION ADDRESSED TO ANOTHER PERSON, IS OF DIRECT AND INDIVIDUAL CONCERN TO THE FORMER . IT FOLLOWS THAT SUCH A PERSON IS NOT ENTITLED TO MAKE AN APPLICATION FOR ANNULMENT OF REGULATIONS ADOPTED BY THE COUNCIL OR THE COMMISSION .

P.478

THE COURT ADMITS THAT THE SYSTEM THUS ESTABLISHED BY THE TREATIES OF ROME LAYS DOWN MORE RESTRICTIVE CONDITIONS THAN DOES THE ECSC TREATY FOR THE ADMISSIBILITY OF APPLICATIONS FOR ANNULMENT BY PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS . HOWEVER, IT WOULD NOT BE APPROPRIATE FOR THE COURT TO PRONOUNCE ON THE MERITS OF THIS SYSTEM WHICH APPEARS CLEARLY FROM THE TEXT UNDER EXAMINATION .

THE COURT IS UNABLE IN PARTICULAR TO ADOPT THE INTERPRETATION SUGGESTED BY ONE OF THE APPLICANTS DURING THE ORAL PROCEDURE, ACCORDING TO WHICH THE TERM ‘DECISION’, AS USED IN THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 173, COULD ALSO COVER REGULATIONS . SUCH A WIDE INTERPRETATION CONFLICTS WITH THE FACT THAT ARTICLE 189 MAKES A CLEAR DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE CONCEPT OF A ‘DECISION’ AND THAT OF A ‘REGULATION *. IT 1S INCONCEIVABLE THAT THE TERM ‘DECISION’ WOULD BE USED IN ARTICLE 173 IN A DIFFERENT SENSE FROM THE TECHNICAL SENSE AS DEFINED IN ARTICLE 189 . IT FOLLOWS FROM THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS THAT THE PRESENT APPLICATIONS SHOULD BE DISMISSED AS INADMISSIBLE IF THE MEASURE IN DISPUTE CONSTITUTES A REGULATION .

IN EXAMINING THIS QUESTION, THE COURT CANNOT RESTRICT ITSELF TO CONSIDERING THE OFFICIAL TITLE OF THE MEASURE, BUT MUST FIRST TAKE INTO ACCOUNT ITS OBJECT AND CONTENT .

  1. UNDER THE TERMS OF ARTICLE 189 OF THE EEC TREATY, A REGULATION SHALL HAVE GENERAL APPLICATION AND SHALL BE DIRECTLY APPLICABLE IN ALL MEMBER STATES, WHEREAS A DECISION SHALL BE BINDING ONLY UPON THOSE TO WHOM IT IS ADDRESSED . THE CRITERION FOR THE DISTINCTION MUST BE SOUGHT IN THE GENERAL ‘APPLICATION’ OR OTHERWISE OF THE MEASURE IN QUESTION .

THE ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF A DECISION ARISE FROM THE LIMITATION OF THE PERSONS TO WHOM IT IS ADDRESSED, WHEREAS A REGULATION, BEING ESSENTIALLY OF A LEGISLATIVE NATURE, IS APPLICABLE NOT TO A LIMITED NUMBER OF PERSONS, DEFINED OR IDENTIFIABLE, BUT TO CATEGORIES OF PERSONS VIEWED ABSTRACTLY AND IN THEIR ENTIRETY . CONSEQUENTLY, IN ORDER TO DETERMINE IN DOUBTFUL CASES WHETHER ONE IS CONCERNED WITH A DECISION OR A REGULATION, IT IS NECESSARY TO ASCERTAIN WHETHER THE MEASURE IN QUESTION IS OF INDIVIDUAL CONCERN TO SPECIFIC INDIVIDUALS .

P.479

IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, IF A MEASURE ENTITLED BY ITS AUTHOR A REGULATION CONTAINS PROVISIONS WHICH ARE CAPABLE OF BEING NOT ONLY OF DIRECT BUT ALSO OF INDIVIDUAL CONCERN TO CERTAIN NATURAL OR LEGAL PERSONS, IT MUST BE ADMITTED, WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO THE QUESTION WHETHER THAT MEASURE CONSIDERED IN ITS ENTIRETY CAN BE CORRECTLY CALLED A REGULATION, THAT IN ANY CASE THOSE PROVISIONS DO NOT HAVE THE CHARACTER OF A REGULATION AND MAY THEREFORE BE IMPUGNED BY THOSE PERSONS UNDER THE TERMS OF THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 173 .

  1. IN THIS CASE THE MEASURE IN DISPUTE WAS ENTITLED BY ITS AUTHOR A ‘REGULATION '.

HOWEVER, THE APPLICANTS MAINTAIN THAT THE DISPUTED PROVISION IS IN FACT ‘A DECISION IN THE FORM OF A REGULATION *. IT IS POSSIBLE WITHOUT DOUBT FOR A DECISION ALSO TO HAVE A VERY WIDE FIELD OF APPLICATION . HOWEVER, A MEASURE WHICH IS APPLICABLE TO OBJECTIVELY DETERMINED SITUATIONS AND WHICH INVOLVES IMMEDIATE LEGAL CONSEQUENCES IN ALL MEMBER STATES FOR CATEGORIES OF PERSONS VIEWED IN A GENERAL AND ABSTRACT MANNER CANNOT BE CONSIDERED AS CONSTITUTING A DECISION, UNLESS IT CAN BE PROVED THAT IT IS OF INDIVIDUAL CONCERN TO CERTAIN PERSONS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 173 .

IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE, THE DISPUTED PROVISION INVOLVES IMMEDIATE LEGAL CONSEQUENCES IN ALL MEMBER STATES FOR CATEGORIES OF PERSONS VIEWED IN A GENERAL AND ABSTRACT MANNER . IN FACT, ARTICLE 9 OF THE MEASURE IN DISPUTE - THE PROVISION PARTICULARLY AT ISSUE IN THE PRESENT DISPUTE - ABOLISHES, FOR CERTAIN PRODUCTS AND SUBJECT TO CERTAIN TIME LIMITS, QUANTITATIVE RESTRICTIONS ON IMPORTS AND MEASURES: HAVING EQUIVALENT EFFECT . IT INVOLVES IN ADDITION THE REQUIREMENT THAT MEMBER STATES SHALL DISPENSE WITH RECOURSE TO THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 44 OF THE TREATY, IN PARTICULAR WITH REGARD TO THE RIGHT TEMPORARILY TO SUSPEND OR REDUCE IMPORTS . CONSEQUENTLY, THE SAID ARTICLE ELIMINATES THE RESTRICTIONS ON THE FREEDOM OF TRADERS TO EXPORT OR IMPORT WITHIN THE COMMUNITY .

IT REMAINS TO BE CONSIDERED WHETHER THE DISPUTED PROVISION IS OF INDIVIDUAL CONCERN TO THE APPLICANTS .

ALTHOUGH THIS PROVISION, BY OBLIGING MEMBER STATES TO PUT AN END TO OR TO DISPENSE WITH VARIOUS MEASURES CAPABLE OF FAVOURING AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS, AFFECTS IN SO DOING THEIR INTERESTS AND THE INTERESTS OF THE MEMBERS OF THE APPLICANT ASSOCIATIONS, IT MUST BE STATED NEVERTHELESS THAT THOSE MEMBERS ARE CONCERNED BY THE SAID PROVISION IN THE SAME WAY AS ALL OTHER AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS OF THE COMMUNITY .

MOREOVER, ONE CANNOT ACCEPT THE PRINCIPLE THAT AN ASSOCIATION, IN ITS CAPACITY AS THE REPRESENTATIVE OF A CATEGORY OF BUSINESSMEN, COULD BE INDIVIDUALLY CONCERNED BY A MEASURE AFFECTING THE GENERAL INTERESTS OF THAT CATEGORY .

SUCH A PRINCIPLE WOULD RESULT IN THE GROUPING, UNDER THE HEADING OF A SINGLE LEGAL PERSON, OF THE INTERESTS PROPERLY ATTRIBUTED TO THE MEMBERS OF A CATEGORY, WHO HAVE BEEN AFFECTED AS INDIVIDUALS BY GENUINE REGULATIONS, AND WOULD DEROGATE FROM THE SYSTEM OF THE TREATY WHICH ALLOWS APPLICATIONS FOR ANNULMENT BY PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS ONLY OF DECISIONS WHICH HAVE BEEN ADDRESSED TO THEM OR OF ACTS WHICH AFFECT THEM IN A SIMILAR MANNER .

IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT CANNOT BE ADMITTED THAT THE PROVISION IN DISPUTE IS OF INDIVIDUAL CONCERN TO THE APPLICANTS . IT FOLLOWS THAT THE DEFENDANT WAS CORRECT IN DESIGNATING THE PROVISION IN QUESTION AS A REGULATION .

THE PRELIMINARY OBJECTION OF INADMISSIBILITY IS THEREFORE WELL FOUNDED AND THE APPLICATIONS MUST BE DECLARED INADMISSIBLE, WITHOUT ITS BEING NECESSARY TO EXAMINE THE QUESTION WHETHER ASSOCIATIONS ARE ENTITLED TO ACT EACH TIME THEIR MEMBERS ARE ENABLED TO DO SO.

Decision on costs

UNDER THE TERMS OF ARTICLE 69 ( 2 ) OF THE RULES OF PROCEDURE OF THE COURT THE UNSUCCESSFUL PARTY SHALL BE ORDERED TO PAY THE COSTS . IN THE PRESENT CASE THE APPLICANTS AND THE INTERVENER, HAVING FAILED IN THEIR ACTION, MUST BEAR THE COSTS OF THE PROCEEDINGS .

Operative part

THE COURT

HEREBY

  1. DISMISSES THE APPLICATIONS AS BEING INADMISSIBLE;

  1. ORDERS THE APPLICANTS TO BEAR THEIR OWN COSTS AND THOSE INCURRED BY THE DEFENDANT AS A RESULT OF THEIR APPLICATIONS;

  1. ORDERS THE INTERVENER TO BEAR ITS OWN COSTS AND THOSE INCURRED BY THE DEFENDANT AS A RESULT OF ITS INTERVENTION .


Citations

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