Language of document : ECLI:EU:C:2020:667

ORDER OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE COURT

2 September 2020 (*)

(Appeal – Intervention – Confidentiality)

In Case C‑876/19 P,

APPEAL under Article 56 of the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union, brought on 29 November 2019,

PlasticsEurope, established in Brussels (Belgium), represented by R. Cana, E. Mullier, and F. Mattioli, avocats,

appellant,

the other parties to the proceedings being:

European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), represented by W. Broere and A.K. Hautamäki and M. Heikkilä, acting as Agents, and by S. Raes, advocaat,

defendant at first instance,

French Republic,

ClientEarth, established in London (United Kingdom),

interveners at first instance,

THE PRESIDENT OF THE COURT,

having regard to the proposal from S. Rodin, Judge-Rapporteur,

after hearing the Advocate General, M. Szpunar,

makes the following

Order

1        By its appeal, the appellant, PlasticsEurope, seeks to have set aside the judgment of the General Court of the European Union of 20 September 2019, PlasticsEurope v ECHA (T‑636/17, EU:T:2019:639), by which the Court dismissed its action for annulment of Decision ED/30/2017 of the Executive Director of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) of 6 July 2017 by which the existing entry relating to bisphenol A on the list of identified substances with a view to their eventual inclusion in Annex XIV to 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) and 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, corrigendum OJ 2007 L 136, p. 3), was supplemented to the effect that bisphenol A was also identified as a substance within the meaning of Article 57(f) of that regulation.

2        By document lodged at the Court Registry on 24 March 2020, the Federal Republic of Germany sought leave to intervene in Case C‑876/19 P in support of the forms of order sought by ECHA, the French Republic and ClientEarth.

3        Since that Member State’s application has been made in accordance with Article 130(1) and (3) of the Rules of Procedure of the Court, applicable to proceedings on appeal pursuant to Article 190 thereof, it should be granted.

4        Following service by the Registrar of the Court, in accordance with Article 131(1) of the Rules of Procedure, of the application for leave to intervene submitted by the Federal Republic of Germany, ECHA and PlasticsEurope submitted their observations.

5        By document lodged at the Court Registry on 19 May 2020, PlasticsEurope requested the Court to treat as confidential, vis-à-vis the Federal Republic of Germany, the identity of its members as importers or manufacturers of bisphenol A, included on page 7, paragraph 13, of its application at first instance (page 74 of the annexes to the appeal), on page 13, paragraphs 32 and 33, of that application (page 80 of the annexes to the appeal) and on page 701 of the annexes to that application (page 819 of the annexes to the appeal). To that end, the appellant produces a non-confidential version of the application at first instance and of its annexes as Annex P.3 of the appeal.

6        It is apparent both from that non-confidential version and from paragraph 7 of the judgment of 20 September 2019, PlasticsEurope v ECHA (T‑636/17, EU:T:2019:639), that the members that the appellant seeks to protect are part of the ‘Polycarbonate/Bisphenol A’ group and are active in placing bisphenol A on the market in the European Union.

7        Since the website of the ‘Polycarbonate/Bisphenol A’ group allows free access to the identity of the members of that group, the confidential treatment of the identity of those members, as regards the Federal Republic of Germany, would be ineffective. Indeed, the appellant submits that it is for the reason that it mentioned the names of some of its members in its application that it requests that the identity of those members be treated as confidential vis-à-vis the Federal Republic of Germany. However, in the absence of a sufficient explanation capable of establishing the harm which the disclosure of such information would be likely to cause to the legitimate interests of the appellant and of those members, there is no need to protect that information on grounds of confidentiality. In that regard, it should be noted that the appellant itself states that the identity of some of its members was mentioned in its application ‘by way of example’. However, such a reference is not, as such, likely to damage the reputation of those members of the appellant.

8        It follows from the foregoing that the Federal Republic of Germany’s application for leave to intervene is admissible and that PlasticsEurope’s request that the Court treat as confidential, vis-à-vis that Member State, the identity of its members as importers or manufacturers of bisphenol A, listed in Annex P.3 to the appeal, should be rejected.

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

1.      The Federal Republic of Germany is granted leave to intervene in Case C876/19 P in support of the forms of order sought by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the French Republic and ClientEarth.

2.      The request for confidential treatment vis-à-vis the Federal Republic of Germany is rejected.

3.      A copy of all the procedural documents shall be served on the Federal Republic of Germany by the Registrar.

4.      A period shall be prescribed within which the Federal Republic of Germany is to submit a statement in intervention.

5.      The costs are reserved.

Luxembourg, 2 September 2020.

A. Calot Escobar

 

K. Lenaerts

Registrar

 

President


*      Language of the case: English.