Calpak / Commission

IDENTIFIER
61979CJ0789 | ECLI:EU:C:1980:159 | C-789/79
LANGUAGE
English
ORIGIN
ITA
COURT
Court of Justice
ADVOCATE GENERAL
Warner
AG OPINION
YES
REFERENCES MADE
10
REFERENCED
54
SECTOR
European Community (EEC/EC)
DOCUMENT TYPE
Judgment

Judgment



Parties

IN JOINED CASES 789 AND 790/79

  1. CALPAK S.P.A ., BOLOGNA ;

  1. SOCIETA EMILIANA LAVORAZIONE FRUTTA S.P.A ., RAVENNA , REPRESENTED BY J . LEVER , QUEEN ‘ S COUNSEL OF GRAY‘ S INN, AND U . BOURKE , SOLICITOR OF THE SUPREME COURT , OF MESSRS CLIFFORD-TURNER , BRUSSELS , WITH AN ADDRESS FOR SERVICE IN LUXEMBOURG AT THE CHAMBERS OF J . HOSS , 84 GRAND‘ RUE ,

APPLICANTS ,

Vv

COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES REPRESENTED BY R . WAINWRIGHT AND H . BRONKHORST , MEMBERS OF ITS LEGAL DEPARTMENT , ACTING AS AGENTS , ASSISTED BY A. DURAND , BARRISTER OF THE MIDDLE TEMPLE , WITH AN ADDRESS FOR SERVICE IN LUXEMBOURG AT THE OFFICE OF M . CERVINO , JEAN MONNET BUILDING , KIRCHBERG ,

DEFENDANT ,

Subject of the case

CONCERNING , AT THIS STAGE IN THE PROCEEDINGS , THE ADMISSIBILITY OF THE APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED BY THE APPLICANTS UNDER THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 173 OF THE EEC TREATY ,

Grounds

  1. APPLICATIONS WERE SUBMITTED ON 2 NOVEMBER 1979 BY THE ITALIAN COMPANIES CALPAK S.P.A ., BOLOGNA , AND SOCIETA EMILIANA LAVORAZIONE FRUTTA S.P.A ., RAVENNA , FOR A DECLARATION UNDER THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 173 OF THE EEC TREATY THAT CERTAIN MEASURES ADOPTED BY THE COMMISSION REGARDING PRODUCTION AIDS FOR WILLIAMS PEARS PRESERVED IN SYRUP ARE VOID . THE COMMISSION SUBMITTED A PRELIMINARY OBJECTION OF INADMISSIBILITY UNDER ARTICLE 91 ( 1 ) OF THE RULES OF PROCEDURE AND THE COURT HAS DECIDED TO GIVE A RULING ON THE ADMISSIBILITY OF THE APPLICATIONS FOR ANNULMENT WITHOUT GOING INTO THE SUBSTANCE OF THE APPLICATIONS .

  1. AS AMPLIFIED IN THE COURSE OF THE ORAL PROCEDURE , THE APPLICATIONS CONCERN IN THE MAIN ARTICLE 1 OF COMMISSION REGULATION NO 1731/79 OF 6 AUGUST 1979 LAYING DOWN DETAILED RULES RESTRICTING THE GRANTING OF PRODUCTION AID FOR WILLIAMS PEARS PRESERVED IN SYRUP ( OFFICIAL JOURNAL L 199, P . 21 ), AND ARTICLE 1 (3 ) OF COMMISSION REGULATION NO 1732/79 OF 6 AUGUST 1979 AMENDING REGULATION NO 1530/78 LAYING DOWN RULES FOR THE APPLICATION OF THE SYSTEM OF AID IN RESPECT OF CERTAIN PRODUCTS PROCESSED FROM FRUIT AND VEGETABLES ( OFFICIAL JOURNAL L 199 , P . 22 ). THE FIRST OF THOSE PROVISIONS , BOTH OF WHICH TOOK EFFECT FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE MARKETING YEAR 1979/80 , RESTRICTS THE AID GRANTED TO EACH PROCESSING UNDERTAKING TO 105% OF THE AMOUNT PRODUCED DURING THE 1978/79 MARKETING YEAR . THE SECOND PROVISION PROVIDES THAT ALL APPLICATIONS FOR AID MUST BE SUPPORTED BY A STATEMENT OF THE QUANTITY PRODUCED BY THE PROCESSOR DURING THE MARKETING YEAR PRECEDING THE MARKETING YEAR IN QUESTION .

  1. THE SYSTEM OF PRODUCTION AID FOR PRODUCTS PROCESSED FROM FRUIT AND VEGETABLES WAS INTRODUCED BY COUNCIL REGULATION NO 1152/78 OF 30 MAY 1978 , AMENDING REGULATION NO 516/77 ON THE COMMON: ORGANIZATION OF THE MARKET IN THAT SECTOR ( OFFICIAL JOURNAL L 144, P.. 1 ). ARTICLE 2 OF THAT REGULATION ADDED A NEW ARTICLE 3A TO REGULATION NO 516/77 , PARAGRAPH ( 5 ) OF WHICH EMPOWERED THE COUNCIL TO LIMIT THE AID *' TAKING ACCOUNT OF AVERAGE PRODUCTION IN THE THREE YEARS PRECEDING THE MARKETING YEAR FOR WHICH THE AID IS ‘* FIXED‘ * IN ORDER TO AVOID THE RISK OF OVERPRODUCTION .

  1. IT WAS IN APPLICATION OF THE LAST-MENTIONED PROVISION THAT THE COUNCIL , HAVING EXTENDED THE SYSTEM OF AID TO THE PRODUCT IN QUESTION , ADOPTED REGULATION NO 1640/79 OF 24 JULY 1979 LIMITING THE GRANTING OF PRODUCTION AID FOR WILLIAMS PEARS PRESERVED IN SYRUP ( OFFICIAL JOURNAL L 192, P . 4), THEREBY LIMITING THE GRANTING OF AID FOR EACH MARKETING YEAR TO 57 100 TONNES . THE PREAMBLE TO THE REGULATION SHOWS THAT THAT QUANTITY REPRESENTS 83% OF THE AVERAGE PRODUCTION FOR THE MARKETING YEARS 1976/77 , 1977/78 AND 1978/79 , BUT IT HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED THAT IT ALSO REPRESENTS 105% OF PRODUCTION DURING THE 1978/79 MARKETING YEAR ALONE AS DECLARED AT THE TIME BY THE FRENCH AND ITALIAN AUTHORITIES , THOSE TWO MEMBER STATES ACCOUNTING FOR THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY PRODUCTION .

  1. THE APPLICANTS COMPLAIN , INTER ALIA , THAT THE COMMISSION ABANDONED THE NORMAL CRITERION OF AVERAGE PRODUCTION OVER SEVERAL YEARS APPLIED BY THE COUNCIL IN ITS REGULATIONS , ADOPTING INSTEAD AS THE SOLE REFERENCE YEAR THE 1978/79 MARKETING YEAR , WHICH WAS ATYPICAL FOR THE PRODUCT IN QUESTION BECAUSE PRODUCTION IN ITALY WAS UNUSUALLY LOW . THAT IS ESPECIALLY TRUE IN THE CASE OF THE APPLICANTS AND THE OTHER PROCESSORS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR , WHOSE PRODUCTION , UNLIKE THAT OF PUBLIC UNDERTAKINGS AND CO-OPERATIVES , IS EXTREMELY VARIABLE . WHEN CROPS ARE PLENTIFUL , AS , FOR EXAMPLE , DURING THE 1976/77 MARKETING YEAR , UNDERTAKINGS SUCH AS THE APPLICANTS HELP TO ABSORB THE SURPLUS BY BUYING UP LARGE QUANTITIES OF FRUIT . WHEN BASIC SUPPLIES ARE LESS PLENTIFUL , HOWEVER , AS IN THE CASE OF THE 1978/79 MARKETING YEAR , SUCH UNDERTAKINGS PURCHASE MUCH LESS , AND AS A RESULT THE QUANTITY THEY PROCESS INTO PRESERVES IS SMALL . THE COMMISSION IS WELL AWARE OF THOSE FACTS . THERE IS ONLY A VERY LIMITED NUMBER OF WILLIAMS PEARS PROCESSORS IN THE COMMUNITY . THE UNDERTAKINGS WHICH PROCESSED THAT FRUIT DURING THE 1978/79 MARKETING YEAR , AND WHICH ARE THEREFORE CONCERNED BY THE CONTESTED PROVISIONS , CONSTITUTE NOT MERELY A CLOSED AND DEFINABLE GROUP BUT EQUALLY A GROUP THE MEMBERS OF WHICH WERE EITHER KNOWN TO OR AT LEAST IDENTIFIABLE BY THE COMMISSION AT THE TIME WHEN IT ADOPTED THE DISPUTED PROVISIONS . THE PURPOSE OF SUCH PROVISIONS MOREOVER , CAN ONLY HAVE BEEN TO PREJUDICE UNDERTAKINGS , SUCH AS THE APPLICANTS , WHOSE PRODUCTION HAD BEEN EXTREMELY LOW FOR THE SINGLE MARKETING YEAR SELECTED AS A POINT OF REFERENCE BY THE COMMISSION . THUS THE APPLICANTS CLAIM TO HAVE FULFILLED THE REQUIREMENTS FOR BEING DIRECTLY AND INDIVIDUALLY CONCERNED BY THE PROVISIONS , WHICH IS SUFFICIENT , IN THEIR OPINION , TO ENTITLE THEM TO REQUEST THE ANNULMENT THEREOF UNDER THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 173 OF THE TREATY .

  1. THE COMMISSION * S MAIN CONTENTION IS THAT AS THE DISPUTED PROVISIONS WERE ADOPTED IN THE FORM OF REGULATIONS THEIR ANNULMENT MAY ONLY BE SOUGHT IF THEIR CONTENT SHOWS THEM TO BE , IN FACT , DECISIONS . BUT IN THE COMMISSION * S VIEW THE PROVISIONS IN QUESTION , WHICH LAY DOWN RULES OF GENERAL APPLICATION , ARE TRULY IN THE NATURE OF REGULATIONS WITHIN THE MEANING OF ARTICLE 189 OF THE TREATY . BY SELECTING THE 1978/79 MARKETING YEAR AS THE REFERENCE PERIOD THE COMMISSION ' S INTENTION WAS TO LIMIT AND STABILIZE PRODUCTION AT A LEVEL AS LOW AS THAT OF THAT YEAR . IT IS SAID TO BE POSSIBLE , BUT CERTAINLY NOT INDEFENSIBLE THAT SUCH A RESTRICTION HAS A GREATER INCIDENCE UPON MARGINAL PRODUCERS SUCH AS THE APPLICANTS THAN , FOR EXAMPLE , UPON CO-OPERATIVES , BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE APPLICANTS ARE INDIVIDUALLY CONCERNED WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 173 , WHICH HYPOTHESIS THE COMMISSION DENIES IN ANY CASE .

  1. THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 173 EMPOWERS INDIVIDUALS TO CONTEST , INTER ALIA , ANY DECISION WHICH , ALTHOUGH IN THE FORM OF A REGULATION , IS OF DIRECT AND INDIVIDUAL CONCERN TO THEM . THE OBJECTIVE OF THAT PROVISION IS IN PARTICULAR TO PREVENT THE COMMUNITY INSTITUTIONS FROM BEING IN A POSITION , MERELY BY CHOOSING THE FORM OF A REGULATION , TO EXCLUDE AN APPLICATION BY AN INDIVIDUAL AGAINST A DECISION WHICH CONCERNS HIM DIRECTLY AND INDIVIDUALLY ; IT THEREFORE STIPULATES THAT THE CHOICE OF FORM CANNOT CHANGE THE NATURE OF THE MEASURE .

  1. BY VIRTUE OF THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 189 OF THE TREATY THE CRITERION FOR DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN A REGULATION AND A DECISION IS WHETHER THE MEASURE AT ISSUE IS OF GENERAL APPLICATION OR NOT .

AS THE AMENDMENT TO REGULATION NO 1530/78 MADE BY ARTICLE 1 ( 3 ) OF REGULATION NO 1732/79 CONCERNING THE INFORMATION TO BE SUBMITTED IN SUPPORT OF THE APPLICATION FOR AID IS MERELY THE NATURAL CONSEQUENCE OF THE LIMITATION IMPOSED BY ARTICLE 1 OF REGULATION NO 1731/79 , CONSIDERATION NEED ONLY BE GIVEN TO THE NATURE OF THE LATTER PROVISION .

  1. A PROVISION WHICH LIMITS THE GRANTING OF PRODUCTION AID FOR ALL PRODUCERS IN RESPECT OF A PARTICULAR PRODUCT TO A UNIFORM PERCENTAGE OF THE QUANTITY PRODUCED BY THEM DURING A UNIFORM PRECEDING PERIOD IS BY NATURE A MEASURE OF GENERAL APPLICATION WITHIN THE MEANING OF ARTICLE 189 OF THE TREATY . IN FACT THE MEASURE APPLIES TO OBJECTIVELY DETERMINED SITUATIONS AND PRODUCES LEGAL EFFECTS WITH REGARD TO CATEGORIES OF PERSONS DESCRIBED IN A GENERALIZED AND ABSTRACT MANNER . THE NATURE OF THE MEASURE AS A REGULATION IS NOT CALLED IN QUESTION BY THE MERE FACT THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO DETERMINE. THE NUMBER OR EVEN THE IDENTITY OF THE PRODUCERS TO BE GRANTED THE AID WHICH IS LIMITED THEREBY .

  1. NOR IS THE FACT THAT THE CHOICE OF REFERENCE PERIOD IS PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT FOR THE APPLICANTS , WHOSE PRODUCTION IS SUBJECT TO CONSIDERABLE VARIATION FROM ONE MARKETING YEAR TO ANOTHER AS A RESULT OF THEIR OWN PROGRAMME OF PRODUCTION , SUFFICIENT TO ENTITLE THEM TO AN INDIVIDUAL REMEDY . MOREOVER , THE APPLICANTS HAVE NOT ESTABLISHED THE EXISTENCE OF CIRCUMSTANCES SUCH AS TO JUSTIFY DESCRIBING THAT CHOICE - THE CONFORMITY OF WHICH WITH THE COUNCIL * S REGULATIONS , AND ESPECIALLY WITH THE BASIC REGULATION , IS ONLY RELEVANT TO THE SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES OF THE CASE - AS A DECISION ADOPTED SPECIFICALLY IN RELATION TO THEM AND , AS SUCH , ENTITLING THEM TO INSTITUTE PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 173 .

  1. IT FOLLOWS THAT THE OBJECTION RAISED BY THE COMMISSION MUST BE ACCEPTED AS REGARDS THE APPLICATIONS FOR THE ANNULMENT OF THE PROVISIONS IN THE TWO REGULATIONS IN QUESTION .

  1. IN THE ALTERNATIVE , THE APPLICANTS CLAIM THE ANNULMENT OF ANY MEASURE ADOPTED BY THE COMMISSION WITH A VIEW TO ALLOCATING THE TOTAL PRODUCTION AID FOR WILLIAMS PEARS PRESERVED IN SYRUP BETWEEN. FRENCH AND ITALIAN PRODUCERS IN THE PROPORTION 36% TO 64% . THEY MAINTAIN THAT THE PROVISIONS WHICH FORM THE PRINCIPAL SUBJECT-MATTER OF THEIR APPLICATIONS ARE IN ALL PROBABILITY DESIGNED TO GIVE EFFECT TO SUCH A MEASURE INTENDED TO LIMIT THE AID GRANTED TO ITALIAN PRODUCERS . THE COMMISSION CONTENDS THAT ALTHOUGH THE PERCENTAGES REFERRED TO BY THE APPLICANTS DO INDEED CORRESPOND TO THE PROPORTION BETWEEN THE QUANTITIES PRODUCED DURING THE REFERENCE PERIOD AS DECLARED AT THE TIME BY THE FRENCH AND ITALIAN AUTHORITIES , THERE EXISTS NO MEASURE OF THE COMMISSION WHICH LIMITS THE GRANTING OF AID TO ITALY TO A FIXED PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL PRODUCTION DURING THE MARKETING YEARS FOR WHICH THE AID IS GRANTED .

  1. IN FACT THERE IS NO REFERENCE , IN EITHER THE PROVISIONS OF OR THE PREAMBLE TO THE REGULATIONS CONCERNING PRODUCTION AID FOR WILLIAMS PEARS , TO AN APPORTIONMENT OF THE AID BETWEEN FRENCH AND ITALIAN PRODUCERS , AND THE PROCEEDINGS HAVE NOT BROUGHT TO LIGHT ANY OTHER MEASURE OF THE COMMISSION SUCH AS TO ENTAIL A FLAT-RATE DISTRIBUTION WHICH DOES NOT CORRESPOND TO ACTUAL PRODUCTION DURING THE REFERENCE PERIOD . IT FOLLOWS THAT THE APPLICATIONS FOR ANNULMENT ARE DEVOID OF OBJECT AND THAT THIS PART OF THE APPLICATIONS MUST THEREFORE ALSO BE DISMISSED AS INADMISSIBLE .

  1. UNDER ARTICLE 69 ( 2 ) OF THE RULES OF PROCEDURE THE UNSUCCESSFUL PARTIES SHALL BE ORDERED TO PAY THE COSTS . AS THE APPLICANTS HAVE FAILED IN THEIR APPLICATIONS , THEY MUST BE ORDERED TO PAY THE COSTS .

Operative part

ON THOSE GROUNDS ,

THE COURT

HEREBY :

  1. DISMISSES THE APPLICATIONS AS INADMISSIBLE ;

  1. ORDERS THE APPLICANTS TO PAY THE COSTS .


Citations

Sign up for a free moonlit.ai™ account to access all citing documents.