You are on page 1of 1

7.6.

2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 135/21

Action brought on 15 April 2003 by the Commission of treaty. The same is true of the content of the framework
the European Communities against the Council of the decision. The matters which Articles 2 and 3 of the framework
European Union decision require Member States to regard as environmental
offences refer, for the most part, to actions covered by
Community law.
(Case C-176/03)

(2003/C 135/31) Article 47 of the Treaty on European union lays down the
primacy of Community provisions and it is therefore not
legally possible to adopt acts on the basis of that treaty if there
is Community competence to do so.
An action against the Council of the European Union was
brought before the Court of Justice of the European Communi- The Commission also claims that the Communities have
ties on 15 April 2003 by the Commission of the European competence to require the Member States to impose criminal
Communities, represented by J.-F. Pasquier and W. Bog- penalties where that is necessary in order to guarantee the
ensberger, acting as Agents, with an address for service in effect and efficacy of Community law.
Luxembourg.
In that regard, the Commission submits, first, that according
The Commission of the European Communities claims that to settled case-law of the Court of Justice, as set out for
the Court should: example in Case 68/88 Commission v Greece [1989] ECR
2966, the Member States must ensure that infringements
— declare that the Council Framework Decision of 27 Janu- of Community law are penalised under conditions, both
ary 2003 on the protection of the environment through procedural and substantive, which are analogous to those
criminal law ( 1) is unlawful; applicable to infringements of national law of a similar
nature and importance and which make the penalty effective,
proportionate and dissuasive. The Member States may there-
— annul that framework decision;
fore be required to provide criminal penalties for infringements
of Community law. The Community measure may even itself
— order the Council of the European Union to pay the costs. define the types of penalties which the Member States may
establish (see, for example, Article 31 of Council Regulation
(EEC) No 2847/93 of 12 October 1993 establishing a control
system applicable to the common fisheries policy ( 2).
Pleas in law and main arguments

The Commission observes, next, that as Community law


The action is based on Article 35(6) of the Treaty on European currently stands, if the Community legislature considers that
Union. compliance with the rules which it lays down can be guaran-
teed only by the imposition of criminal penalties, it has power
to require the Member States to provide for such penalties.
The Commission unreservedly supports the objectives of the
framework decision but disputes the legal basis adopted in
(1 ) Framework Decision 2003/80/JHI, OJ L 29, 5.2.2003, p. 55.
order to provide for the measures in question, namely the
(2 ) OJ L 261, 20.10.1993, p. 1.
Treaty on European Union and in particular Articles 29, 31(e)
and 34(2)(b) of that treaty. The measures in question are
clearly matters of Community competence. The choice of
legal basis is important in this case because of the special
institutional features of Title VI of the Treaty on European
Union which, inter alia, does not have any equivalent to the
infringement procedure.
Action brought on 28 April 2003 by the Kingdom
of Belgium against the Commission of the European
The choice of legal basis of an act must, according to the case- Communities
law, be based on objective criteria that are susceptible to
judicial review, as regards in particular the purpose and content (Case C-182/03)
of the act.
(2003/C 135/32)
In the present case, both the purpose and the content of
the framework decision manifestly fall within the scope of
Community competencies. The aim of the framework decision An action against the Commission of the European Communi-
is to protect the environment by imposing penalties on ties was brought before the Court of Justice of the European
infringements adversely affecting it, which corresponds to Communities on 28 April 2003 by the Kingdom of Belgium,
Community competencies such as those referred to in Title XIX represented by A. Snoecx, acting as Agent, assisted by P. Kelley,
of the EC Treaty (Articles 174 to 176) and by Article 6 of that B. van der Walle de Ghelcke and J. Wouters, avocats.