Language of document :

ORDER OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE COURT

3 March 2015 (*)

(Appeal — Application to intervene — Interest in the result of the case — Admission)

In Case C‑673/13 P,

APPEAL under Article 56 of the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union, brought on 17 December 2013,

European Commission, represented by B. Smulders, P. Oliver, P. Ondrůšek and L. Pignataro-Nolin, acting as Agents, with an address for service in Luxembourg,

appellant,

the other parties to the proceedings being:

Stichting Greenpeace Nederland, established in Amsterdam (Netherlands),

Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe), established in Brussels (Belgium),

represented by B. Kloostra, advocaat,

applicants at first instance,

THE PRESIDENT OF THE COURT,

having regard to the proposal from A. Tizzano, Judge-Rapporteur,

after hearing the Advocate General, P. Cruz Villalón,

makes the following

Order

1        By its appeal, the European Commission seeks to have set aside the judgment of the General Court of the European Union in Stichting Greenpeace Nederland and PAN Europe v Commission (T‑545/11, EU:T:2013:523), by which the General Court annulled the Commission’s decision of 10 August 2011 refusing to grant Stichting Greenpeace Nederland and Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe) access to volume 4 of the Draft Assessment Report (‘volume 4’) issued by the Federal Republic of Germany as rapporteur Member State for the active substance glyphosate under Council Directive 91/414/EEC of 15 July 1991 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market (OJ 1991 L 230, p. 1) (‘the contested decision’), inasmuch as the contested decision refuses access to the parts of that volume containing information relating to emissions into the environment: the ‘identity’ and quantity of all of the impurities in the active substance notified by each operator, set out in part C.1.2.1 of the first sub-document (pp. 11 to 61 of volume 4), in part C.1.2.1 of the second sub-document (pp. 1 to 6 of volume 4) and in part C.1.2.1 of the third sub-document (pp. 4 and 8 to 13 of volume 4); the impurities present in the various batches and the minimum, median and maximum quantities of each of those impurities, set out, for each operator, in the table included in part C.1.2.2 of the first sub-document (pp. 61 to 84 of volume 4) and in part C.1.2.4 of the third sub-document (p. 7 of volume 4); and the composition of the plant protection products developed by the operators, set out in part C.1.3, entitled ‘Detailed specification of the preparations (Annex III A 1.4)’, of the first sub-document (pp. 84 to 88 of volume 4).

2        By document lodged at the Court Registry on 15 April 2014, the European Chemical Industry Council (‘CEFIC’) applied for leave to intervene in the present appeal in support of the form of order sought by the Commission. By letter lodged on 12 May 2014, the Commission stated that it had no observations to make on that application to intervene.

3        That application to intervene was made pursuant to the second paragraph of Article 40 of the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union and in accordance with Articles 130 and 190(2) of the Rules of Procedure of the Court.

4        Pursuant to the second paragraph of Article 40 of the Statute of the Court, the right to intervene in a case before the Court is open to any person establishing an interest in the result of that case.

5        In particular, the Court allows interventions by representative associations which have as their object the protection of their members’ interests in cases raising questions of principle liable to affect those members (see, inter alia, orders of the President of the Court in Pharos v Commission, C‑151/98 P, EU:C:1998:440, paragraphs 6 and 8, and in Commission v Andersen, C‑303/13 P, EU:C:2014:226, paragraph 8).

6        In support of its application to intervene, CEFIC submits that it is a non-profit organisation which represents the interests of the chemicals industry in Europe. Its members include national chemical industry federations and companies which produce chemicals. It represents 29 000 companies in Europe accounting for approximately one fifth of the world’s chemicals production.

7        CEFIC’s core objective, as set out in its statutes, is to represent the collective interests of its members and to voice the views and needs of the chemicals industry in Europe. To that end, CEFIC points out that it represents the chemicals industry before all the major consultative bodies involved in the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency, amending Directive 1999/45/EC and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1488/94 as well as Council Directive 76/769/EEC and Commission Directives 91/155/EEC, 93/67/EEC, 93/105/EC and 2000/21/EC (OJ 2006 L 396, p. 1), in the implementation of Regulation (EU) No 528/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2012 concerning the making available on the market and use of biocidal products (OJ 2012 L 167, p. 1), and in the implementation in the European Union of the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, signed at Aarhus on 25 June 1998 and approved on behalf of the European Community by Council Decision 2005/370/EC of 17 February 2005 (OJ 2005 L 124, p. 1).

8        CEFIC asserts that, in the context of its activities, it has for many years underlined the importance of an adequate protection of confidential business information (‘CBI’) for the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry.

9        It submits that the present appeal raises questions of principle which are of direct relevance to the way in which CBI is to be protected in the European Union, especially where the CBI may be regarded as environmental information or as information on emissions into the environment governed by Decision 2005/370.

10      Consequently, if the judgment in Stichting Greenpeace Nederland and PAN Europe v Commission (EU:T:2013:523) were upheld, the interests of the whole chemicals sector, including CEFIC’s members, would be affected.

11      In that respect, it must be held that the present appeal, since it concerns a conflict between the right of access to documents concerning the environment and the protection of CBI that chemical manufacturers are required to submit to the competent authority, raises a question of principle which is liable to affect the members of CEFIC.

12      In those circumstances, CEFIC has demonstrated to the requisite legal standard that it possesses — as a representative professional association for the purposes of the case-law cited in paragraph 5 of the present order — an interest in the result of the case.

13      It follows that the application to intervene submitted by CEFIC must be granted.

 Costs

14      As the application to intervene submitted by CEFIC has been granted, the costs relating thereto are reserved.

On those grounds, the President of the Court hereby orders:

1.      The European Chemical Industry Council is granted leave to intervene in support of the form of order sought by the European Commission.

2.      A period shall be prescribed within which the European Chemical Industry Council is to state in writing the pleas in law in support of the form of order which it seeks.

3.      The Registrar shall serve on the European Chemical Industry Council a copy of every document served on the parties.

4.      The costs are reserved.

[Signatures]


* Language of the case: English.