Language of document :

Appeal brought on 15 February 2019 by the Council of the European Union against the judgment of the General Court (Fourth Chamber, Extended Composition) delivered on 4 December 2018 in Case T-518/16, Carreras Sequeros and Others v Commission

(Case C-126/19 P)

Language of the case: French


Appellant: Council of the European Union (represented by: M. Bauer, R. Meyer, acting as Agents)

Other parties to the proceedings: Francisco Carreras Sequeros, Mariola de las Heras Ojeda, Olivier Maes, Gabrio Marinozzi, Giacomo Miserocchi, Marc Thieme Groen, European Commission and European Parliament

Form of order sought

The appellant claims that the Court should:

uphold the appeal;

dispose of the case and dismiss the action brought at first instance as unfounded;

order the applicants at first instance to pay the costs incurred by the Council in the course of the present proceedings.

Grounds of appeal and main arguments

1. The first ground of appeal alleges that the General Court erred in law with regard to its jurisdiction. That ground is divided into two parts.

The first part regards the subject-matter of the action. The Council claims that by annulling, in the operative part of the judgment, ‘the decisions reducing in 2014 the amount of annual leave [of the applicants]’, the General Court implicitly ordered the Commission to reinstate, in order to comply with the judgment, the number of leave days the applicants were entitled to before the amendment of the Staff Regulations. By proceeding in that manner and failing to rectify the subject-matter of the action, the General Court exceeded its jurisdiction. Alternatively, if such a rectification was not possible, the action should have been declared inadmissible.

In the second part, the Council claims that in permitting the applicants to contest, by means of objection, the lawfulness of the entire regime of annual leave set out in Article 6 of Annex X to the Staff Regulations, in particular as applicable from 2016, rather than solely the lawfulness of the provision implemented by the Commission in the decision determining the applicants’ leave for 2014, the General Court has exceeded the scope of its jurisdiction, in contradiction of settled case-law to the effect that the scope of a plea of illegality must be limited to what is necessary for the outcome of the proceedings and that there must be a direct legal connection between the contested individual decision and the act of general application in question.

2. The second ground of appeal alleges that the General Court erred in law in finding that the reduction in the number of annual leave days under the new Article 6 of Annex X to the Staff Regulations affects the applicants’ right to annual leave.

In the first place, in holding that, in certain circumstances, a directive (in the present case Directive 2003/88) 1 may be invoked against the institutions, the General Court disregarded settled case-law to the effect that directives are addressed to the Member States and not to EU institutions or bodies, with the effect that the provisions of a directive may not be treated as imposing any obligations on the EU institutions in their relations with their staff.

In the second place, the General Court erred in law in holding that the legislature is bound by the contents of Directive 2003/88 referred to in the explanations of the Praesidium regarding Article 31(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

In the third place, the General Court misconstrued the scope of Article 31(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which, contrary to the findings of the General Court, is not intended to improve living and working conditions, but rather to ensure an adequate level of protection for all workers in the European Union.

In the fourth place, the General Court erred in law in holding that Article 6 of Annex X to the Staff Regulations infringes the right to annual leave enshrined under Article 31(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, in so far as the number of annual leave days of officials posted to a third country is significantly higher than the minimum of 20 days provided for in Directive 2003/88.

3. The third ground of appeal, raised in the alternative, alleges an error of law as regards the justification for an alleged infringement of the right to annual leave. The General Court erred in law by holding that the justifications for the contested measure did not constitute an overriding public interest and by failing to assess whether the restriction on the right to leave constituted, in view of the aim pursued, a disproportionate and intolerable interference, impairing the very substance of the right guaranteed.


1 Directive 2003/88/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time (OJ 2003 L 299, p. 9).