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C 94/28 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 28.3.

98

Instance of the European Communities on 29 December Action brought on 31 December 1997 by Aduanas Pujol
1997 by Cordis Obst und Gemüse Grosshandel GmbH, Rubio, SA, and Others against the Commission of the
Ostrau, Federal Republic of Germany, represented by, and European Communities
having an address for service at the offices of, Gert Meier,
(Case T-614/97)
Rechtsanwalt, 10 Jakordenstrasse, Cologne.
(98/C 94/72)

The applicant claims that the Court should:


(Language of the case: Spanish)

Ð annul, on the grounds of infringement of the Treaty


and misuse of powers, the decision of the Commission An action against the Commission of the European
of 24 October 1997 on the adoption of transitional Communities was brought before the Court of First
measures in favour of Cordis Obst und Gemüse Instance of the European Communities on 31 December
Grosshandel GmbH under the common organisation 1997 by Aduanas Pujol Rubio SA and other Spanish
of the market in bananas, customs agents, represented by Santiago MunÄoz Machado,
of the Madrid Bar, with an address for service in
Luxembourg at the Chambers of Carlos Amo QuinÄones,
Ð order the Commission to pay the costs. 2 Rue Gabriel Lipmann.

The applicants claim that the Court should:


Pleas in law and main arguments adduced in support:

Ð order the defendant to pay compensation to the


The applicant was founded in November 1990 and is a applicants, by way of non-contractual liability, for the
wholesale fruit business which operates in Saxony, thus in damage alleged in the present application to the extent
the area of the former German Democratic Republic. On to which the Spanish State has not been found liable
its incorporation it absorbed parts of the former East by the national courts,
German farmer's cooperative in order to give the workers
of that concern the opportunity of continued employment.
In July 1991 a banana-ripening plant with an annual
Ð order the defendant to pay the costs.
capacity of 11 960 tonnes began operating. The contested
decision rejected the request made by the applicant in
accordance with Article 30 of Regulation (EEC) No 404/
93 for the grant of additional ripening licences amounting Pleas in law and main arguments adduced in support:
to at least 5 000 tonnes as a transitional measure to
compensate for hardship which was not the applicant's
fault and had come about as a result of the rules on The applicants state that the claim for damages which is
reference periods in Article 19(2) of the Regulation. the subject matter of the present action does not arise
from the loss of business as a result of the gradual
removal of customs posts but rather from the actual costs
of conversion (essentially dismissals) which they have had
In the applicant's view, the Community institutions were
to incur as a result of the total and sudden abolition of
required in accordance with the principle of equal
customs formalities between Member States of the
treatment to take account of the different starting
Community. The applicants acknowledge that such
positions of old and new businesses. The Council was
abolition of customs posts within the Community in view
already obliged to implement such special arrangements in
of the creation of the internal market had already been
favour of the new businesses in the new German Länder.
announced in Article 2 of the Treaty of Rome. None the
However, following the judgment of the Court of Justice
less, the applicants point out that the steps provided for its
of the European Communities in Case C-280/93 (1) which
creation were restricted to the abolition of customs duties,
accords the Council a wide legislative discretion, it is to be
not of the customs posts themselves. The latter arises
assumed that the Council could leave it to the
directly from Article 13 of the Single European Act.
Commission to arrange for appropriate compensation for
Nevertheless, implementation of the mandate contained in
the special sacrifices required of the new businesses. That
that provision was subject to the condition that it be
is all the more true inasmuch as, by Article 30 of
gradual, a condition breached by the Community
Regulation (EEC) No 404/93, the Commission was given
legislature. This constitutes the first plea alleging
a broad framework within which to act. By failing, in
unlawfulness.
breach of the principle of equal treatment, to make full
use of that framework, the Commission misused its
powers and infringed the Treaty.
The applicants seek a finding of non-contractual liability
against the Community authorities for the legislation
(1) Case C-280/93 Germany v. Council [1994] ECR I-4973. which brought into force simultaneously on 1 January
1993 provisions abolishing customs formalities without
providing for proper transitional measures for the
retraining of customs agents.
28.3.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 94/29

Further, the applicants allege, in support of their claims, to be regarded as inappropriate, because they are limited
that the principles of proportionality, of the protection of to a period of one year, and because the Regulation has no
legitimate expectations, fairness and proportionality have binding effect on the Member States. Moreover, the action
been breached and that the right to property and freedom envisaged by the Community was centred only on priority
to provide a service have been disregarded. regions. The applicants state in that connection that since
the damage was definitive as at 1 January 1993, the date
of publication of Regulation (EEC) No 3904/92 rendered
ineffective the few measures that were envisaged therein,
since the undertakings were obliged to take the economic
measures necessary, without receiving support, on that
Actions brought on 31 December 1997 by Alberny FreÁres same date in order to limit their losses. The measures
and Others against Commission of the European proposed, whatever they might be, could be taken only a
Communities and Council of the European Union long time after the requisite adoption of the restructuring
measures.
(Joined Cases T-615/97 to T-618/97)
(98/C 94/73) The applicants allege breach, so far as they are concerned,
of the principle of the observance of acquired rights, the
(Language of the case: French) principle of legal certainty, the principle of the protection
of legitimate expectations and the principle of non-
Actions against the Commission of the European discrimination.
Communities and the Council of the European Union
were brought before the Court of First Instance on The applicants state in particular in that connection that
31 December 1997 by Alberny FreÁres and Others, no initiative taken by the undertakings before 31 December
established in France, represented by Jean-FrancËois 1992 taking account of the disappearance of intra-
Bournilhas, of the Paris Bar, and Mark Clough, Solicitor, Community customs traffic on 1 January 1993, in
with an address for service in Luxembourg at the particular the laying off of employees under the special
chambers of Aloyse May, 31 Grand-Rue. social plan, could give effect to a regulation which was
not to become known until 31 December 1992, that is to
The applicants claim that the Court of First Instance say at the very time at which the harm accrued. Moreover,
should: Regulation (EEC) No 3904/92 treats in the same way
situations which differ considerably from one Member
Ð declare the defendants liable, for the purposes of the State to another. Finally, that Regulation is discriminatory
second paragraph of Article 215 of the Treaty for the as between those who took such action before January
damage caused to their businesses as approved 1993 and those who took it after its publication.
customs agents as a result of the provisions adopted
by the Council to ensure the free movement of goods In the alternative, the applicants allege strict liability on
throughout the internal market as from 1 January the part of the Community, deriving from its failure to
1993, without taking the measures necessary to ensure equal treatment in relation to charges imposed by
safeguard the applicants' interests and as a result of the public authorities. In their opinion, the intervention of
the Commission's failure to propose and the Council's the Community authorities can be deemed to constitute an
failure to adopt the measures necessary legitimately to expropriation, since the situation in which they find
safeguard their rights, themselves is worse than that which would derive from
the economic risks associated with the economic sector
Ð order the defendants jointly and severally to concerned.
compensate each of the applicants for the said
damage, and to pay interest at the rate of 8 % per (1) Council Regulation (EEC) No 3904/92 of 17 December 1992
annum as from 1 January 1993, on measures to adapt the profession of customs agent to the
internal market (OJ L 394, 31.12.1992, p. 1).
Ð order the defendants jointly and severally to pay the
costs.

Pleas in law and main arguments adduced in support:

The applicants, which are approved French customs Actions brought on 24 December 1997 by SPRL NoeÈl
agents, criticise the Community institutions for failing to Boone and Others against Commission of the European
take adequate measures to forestall the harm accruing to Communities
them as a result of completion of the internal market (Joined Cases T-620/97 to T-627/97)
established by the Single European Act.
(98/C 94/74)
The applicants claim that the only reaction on the part of
the Community authorities to the situation in which they (Language of the case: French)
found themselves is contained in Council Regulation
(EEC) No 3904/92 of 17 December 1992 (1). However, Actions against the Commission of the European
the measures with which that Regulation is concerned are Communities were brought before the Court of First