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Action brought on 14 August 2013 – Syngenta Crop Protection and Others v Commission

(Case T-451/13)

Language of the case: English


Applicants: Syngenta Crop Protection AG (Basel, Switzerland); Syngenta Crop Protection (Brussels, Belgium); Syngenta Bulgaria (Sofia, Bulgaria); Syngenta Czech s.r.o. (Prague, Czech Republic); Syngenta Crop Protection A/S (Copenhagen, Denmark); Syngenta France SAS (Saint-Sauveur, France); Syngenta Agro GmbH (Maintal, Germany); Syngenta Hellas AEBE – Proïonta Fytoprostasias & Sporoi (Anthoussa Attica, Greece); Syngenta Növényvédelmi kft (Budapest, Hungary), Syngenta Crop Protection SpA (Milan, Italy); Syngenta Crop Protection BV (Roosendaal, Netherlands); Syngenta Polska sp. z o.o. (Warsaw, Poland); Syngenta Agro Srl (Bucharest, Romania); Syngenta Slovakia s.r.o. (Bratislava, Slovakia); Syngenta Agro, SA (Madrid, Spain); Syngenta UK Ltd (Cambridge, United Kingdom) (represented by: D. Waelbroeck, lawyer, D. Slater, Solicitor, and I. Antypas, lawyer)

Defendants: European Commission and European Union, as represented by the European Commission

Form of order sought

The applicants claim that the Court should:

Annul Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 485/13 ("Contested Regulation") in its entirety or, in the alternative, to annul the Contested Regulation to the extent it imposes restrictions on thiamethoxam ("TMX"), seeds treated with TMX and products containing TMX;

Condemn the EU as represented by the Commission to repair any damage suffered by the applicants as a result of the Commission's breach of its legal obligations, including interest;

Order the Commission to pay all costs and expenses of the proceedings.

Pleas in law and main arguments

In support of the action, the applicants rely on three pleas in law.

First plea in law, alleging that the Contested Regulation imposed restrictions on TMX that were not based on sound science and failed to respect due process, in violation of Articles 4,12(2), 21, 49 and Annex II of Regulation 1107/20091 and the principles of legal certainty and rights of the defence. In particular, the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) review and the subsequent restrictions imposed were not based on any new scientific evidence indicating risk, ignored significant amounts of relevant science, contained material errors in key parameters and were not based on any agreed methodology for conducting a risk assessment. Moreover, EFSA did not find any risk for bee colony survival or of sublethal effects and presented no negative conclusions at all based on actual field studies. The process of review and adoption of the restrictive measures was rushed to the extent that the scientific review could not be thoroughly carried out and stakeholders were not given adequate opportunities to give input.

Second plea in law, alleging that the the Contested Regulation imposed disproportionate and discriminatory restrictions on TMX, based on purely hypothetical risk, without conducting a thorough scientific assessment or any impact assessment at all, in violation of the precautionary principle and the principle of proportionality.

Third plea in law, alleging the Contested Regulation was adopted in violation of the principle of good administration and the duty of care, following an unreasonable mandate given to EFSA, a rushed procedure that failed to allow proper input from stakeholders, failed to take relevant science into account and without any impact assessment.



1 Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market and repealing Council Directives 79/117/EEC and 91/414/EEC (OJ 2009 L 309, p. 1)