Communication: new case No. 0087 of 2022

General Court
Communication: new case




Official Journal of the European Union

C 165/38

Action brought on 17 February 2022 — Hahn Rechtsanwälte v Commission

(Case T-87/22)

(2022/C 165/46)

Language of the case: German


Applicant: Hahn Rechtsanwälte PartG mbB (Bremen, Germany) (represented by: K. Künstner, lawyer)

Defendant: European Commission

Form of order sought

The applicant claims that the Court should:

annul the European Commission’s decision C(2021) 9326 final of 7 December 2021;

order the European Commission to pay the costs.

Pleas in law and main arguments

In support of the action, the applicant relies on three pleas in law.


First plea in law, alleging no grounds for refusal under Article 4(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 (1)

The Commission failed to set out any commercial reasons worthy of protection with regard to the parties to cartel proceedings AT.40178 — Car Emissions, within the meaning of Article 4(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 and failed to carry out a case-by-case examination.

The Commission cannot rely on the protection of investigations, in view of the fact that this case concerns a closed cartel investigation with a decision that has become final and the Commission also failed to carry out a case-by-case examination.

The Commission relies on the general presumption of non-disclosure, despite the fact that the conditions provided for in the first and/or third indent of Article 4(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 are not met which leads to an inadmissible distortion of the ‘rule-exception relationship’ of the right of access.


Second plea in law, alleging overriding public interest in disclosure within the meaning of Article 4(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001

The Commission erred in not finding that there was an overriding public interest within the meaning of Article 4(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001.

In the present case, a failure to have regard for interests of public welfare is evident, since the arrangements contrary to cartel law also concern the defeat devices of passenger cars and excessive nitrogen oxide emissions have a negative impact on interests of public welfare such as health, the environment and climate.

According to the findings of the European Environment Agency (EEA), approximately 12 800 people die each year in Germany alone from air pollution caused by nitrogen oxide.


Third plea in law, alleging lack of a specific examination of partial access pursuant to Article 4(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001

The Commission did not examine in a sufficiently specific manner whether, in the alternative, partial access to the files should be granted pursuant to Article 4(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001.

No examination as to whether it might be possible to adopt a less restrictive measure concerning the applicant’s right of access took place.

(1)  Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (OJ 2001 L 145, p. 43).


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