Ruling on glyphosate renewal: the General Court divided over public authorities’ right of standing

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In this case (T-178/18), the Brussels Region, which had banned the use of plant protection products containing Glyphosate , challenged the Commission’s regulation renewing the authorisation of the said substance. The General Court of the EU rejected the case as inadmissible, finding the Region not directly concerned by the Commission’s regulation for the purpose of Article 263(4) TFEU.

This comes as a surprise as last December, in case T-339/16, the General Court held that Brussels City (which is a distinct administration from Brussels Region) and the cities of Paris and Madrid had standing to challenge acts of the Commission that affect their regulatory powers. As a result, they were allowed to challenge the Commission’s regulation on the Euro 6 emissions standard. See our analysis of the so-called cities case here.

In the cities case, the General Court relied on settled case law according to which an EU act that prevents a public authority from exercising its competences and powers as it sees fit affects its legal situation and therefore makes it directly concerned for the purpose of Article 263(4) of the Treaty (TFEU). The Court considered that Article 4(3) of Directive 2007/46, which states that Member States shall not restrict or impede the circulation on the road of vehicles that comply with the Euro 6 Standard, prevented the cities from banning cars that met the ‘relaxed’ Euro 6 standard under the contested regulation. It also held that the provision is “directly effective”, meaning that car owners could have challenged such a ban in national courts. Therefore, they had to be granted standing to seek the annulment of the contested regulation.



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