Language of document :

Appeal brought on 7 May 2018 by Bruno Gollnisch against the judgment of the General Court (Sixth Chamber) delivered on 7 March 2018 in Case T-624/16, Gollnisch v Parliament

(Case C-330/18 P)

Language of the case: French


Appellant: Bruno Gollnisch (represented by: B. Bonnefoy-Claudet, avocat)

Other party to the proceedings: European Parliament

Form of order sought

With regard to the judgment under appeal, the appellant submits that the Court should:

set aside the judgment of the General Court of 7 March 2018 in Case T-624/16;

rule on the questions raised in accordance with case-law;

refer the case back to the General Court in order for it to be adjudged afresh;

award the appellant the sum of EUR 12 500 in respect of procedural costs incurred in the context of the appeal;

order the Parliament to pay the costs.

In the event of the appeal being upheld, the appellant submits that the Court should:

if it considers that it has sufficient information, itself rule on the substance of the case;

annul the decision of the Secretary-General of the European Parliament of 1 July 2016, the notification and implementing measures set out in the letter of the Director-General for Finance of 6 July 2016, and debit note No 2016-914 of 5 July 2016;

grant the form of order sought by the appellant at first instance;

award the appellant the sum of EUR 20 000 as compensation for the non-material damage suffered;

order the Parliament to pay all costs.

In the alternative, the appellant requests the Court to:

decide that the proceedings are to be stayed until the conclusion of the criminal proceedings brought in France;

rule that the implementation of the decision of the Secretary-General is to be suspended in the meantime and that sums deducted in that regard are to be repaid in full to the appellant.

Grounds of appeal and main arguments

1.    First ground of appeal, alleging that the Secretary-General lacks competence and that Article 25(3) of the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament has been infringed

The judgment under appeal recognises the Secretary-General as having decision-making power, enabling him alone to declare the existence of an undue payment, whereas, under the rules and earlier case-law, he has merely power to investigate, to propose and to implement.

2.    Second ground of appeal, alleging disregard of the principles ‘una via electa’ and ‘le penal tient le civil en état’ (‘civil proceedings must be stayed pending the conclusion of criminal proceedings’)

The judgment under appeal wrongly finds that the principle relied on is a matter of national law and not European law and that the case in question has not given rise to any criminal aspect.

3.    Third ground of appeal, alleging infringement of the rights of defence

The judgment under appeal: (1) failed to restore the appellant’s fundamental right to be heard, even though he has been deprived of that right throughout the proceedings; (2) validated the description of mere suspicions that the administration of the Parliament had given, whereas they were allegations, for that matter baseless, made against the appellant during the proceedings, and the changing and imprecise nature of those allegations constituted an obstacle impeding the presentation of an effective defence; (3) disregarded the consequences of the administration’s failure to respond to the appellant’s correspondence questioning the administration on the exact nature of the evidence of his assistant’s work that they expected from him.

4.    Fourth ground of appeal, alleging discriminatory treatment and fumus persecutionis, as well as an improper reversal of the burden of proof

The judgment under appeal did not categorise the indicia of discriminatory treatment and fumus persecutionis as being so, and found that the case-law relied on by the appellant could not apply by analogy to cases of political discrimination.

5.    Fifth ground of appeal, alleging inadequacy of the grounds and infringement of Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights

The judgment under appeal wrongly found that the intermediary documents relating to the procedure for the recovery of undue payments had no legal value in relation to the validity of that procedure and, therefore, to that of the final measure. The judgment under appeal therefore failed to draw consequences from the fact that both the changing nature of the grounds of judgment and the administration’s failure to respond to the appellant’s requests for clarification did not enable him to know how he was to demonstrate that no offence had been committed.

6.    Sixth ground of appeal, alleging infringement of the principles of legal certainty and legitimate expectations

The judgment under appeal held that the need for a member of Parliament to retain the evidence of his assistants’ work is neither retroactive nor binding.

7.    Seventh ground of appeal, alleging an incorrect description of the evidence, a distortion of the facts and contradictory grounds

The judgment under appeal unilaterally presented, a posteriori, without legal basis and without consistent reasoning, a theory of recognised and admissible forms of evidence of the assistant’s work, arbitrarily rejected those which the appellant had presented and criticised him for not having provided new evidence in the course of the proceedings.

8.    Eighth ground of appeal, alleging infringement of the principle of proportionality

The judgment under appeal finds, on the one hand, that the implementing measures do not give the Secretary-General any margin of discretion to take a decision and, on the other hand, that the appellant did not develop sufficient arguments against the implementing measures or the legal rules upon which those measures are based.