Language of document : ECLI:EU:C:2021:262

ORDER OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE COURT

11 February 2021 (*)

(Appeal – Intervention – Confidentiality – Information treated as confidential at first instance)

In Case C‑465/20 P,

APPEAL under Article 56 of the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union, brought on 25 September 2020,

European Commission, represented by L. Flynn, P.-J. Loewenthal and F. Tomat, acting as Agents,

appellant,

the other parties to the proceedings being:

Ireland, represented by M. Browne, J. Quaney and A. Joyce, acting as Agents, S. Kingston, C. Donnelly, A. Goodman, Senior Counsel, P.W. Baker QC, and B. Doherty, Barrister-at-Law,

Apple Sales International, established in Cork (Ireland),

Apple Operations Europe, established in Cork,

represented by A. von Bonin, Rechtsanwalt, E. van der Stok, advocaat, C. Riis‑Madsen, advokat, D. Beard QC, and J. Bourke and L. Osepciu, Barristers,

applicants at first instance,

Grand Duchy of Luxembourg,

Republic of Poland,

EFTA Surveillance Authority,

interveners at first instance,

THE PRESIDENT OF THE COURT,

having regard to the proposal of N. Wahl, Judge-Rapporteur,

after hearing the Advocate General, G. Pitruzzella,

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 of 15 July 2020, Ireland and Others v Commission (T‑778/16 and T‑892/16, EU:T:2020:338), by which the General Court annulled its Decision (EU) 2017/1283 of 30 August 2016 on State aid SA.38373 (2014/C) (ex 2014/NN) (ex 2014/CP) implemented by Ireland to Apple (OJ 2017 L 187, p. 1).

2        By order of the President of the Court of Justice of 14 December 2020, it was held that the information redacted from the common non-confidential version of the appeal and annexes thereto, lodged at the Registry of the Court by Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe, in agreement with the Commission and Ireland, on 30 November 2020, would be treated as confidential vis-à-vis the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Republic of Poland, interveners at first instance, and that non-confidential version alone was to be required to be served, by the Registrar, on those two Member States.

3        By a document lodged at the Court Registry on 11 December 2020, Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe requested the Court to treat as confidential vis-à-vis the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Republic of Poland certain information contained in their statement in response. The Commission neither commented on that request nor submitted a further request for confidential treatment within the time limit set. Ireland, for its part, stated that it supported the request made by Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe and that it did not wish to make any further request for confidentiality in relation to that statement in response.

4        By a document lodged at the Court Registry on 7 January 2021, Ireland requested the Court to treat as confidential vis-à-vis the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Republic of Poland its statement in response. The Commission neither commented on that request nor submitted a further request for confidential treatment within the time limit set. Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe, for their part, stated that they supported Ireland’s request for confidential treatment of its statement in response and produced a non-confidential version of that response, while indicating that that non-confidential version was identical to the non-confidential version lodged by Ireland, with which they had consulted.

5        It should be recalled that Article 171(1) of the Rules of Procedure of the Court provides that the appeal is to be served on the other parties to the relevant case before the General Court. Moreover, in accordance with Article 172 of the Rules of Procedure, any party to the relevant case before the General Court having an interest in the appeal being allowed or dismissed may submit a response within two months after service of the appeal on that party. It follows from those provisions that the appeal and the other procedural documents lodged before the Court of Justice are also to be served, in principle, on the parties given leave to intervene at first instance.

6        However, where a party is requesting, vis-à-vis a party that intervened before the General Court, confidential treatment in respect of material produced before the Court of Justice which has already been treated as confidential vis-à-vis that same party in the proceedings at first instance, that confidential treatment must, in principle, be maintained for the purposes of the proceedings before the Court of Justice (orders of the President of the Court of Justice of 13 December 2016, Lundbeck v Commission, C‑591/16 P, not published, EU:C:2016:967, paragraph 5, and of 2 September 2020, Eurofer v Commission, C‑226/20 P, not published, EU:C:2020:669, paragraph 4).

7        In the present case, with regard, in the first place, to the request for confidential treatment of the statement in response of Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe, it should be noted that confidential treatment is requested only in respect of information which has already been treated as confidential before the General Court. As regards the passages in footnote 82 of that statement in response in respect of which confidential treatment is requested, they contain information to which the President of the Seventh Chamber of the General Court, by order of 9 July 2019, Ireland and Others v Commission (T‑778/16 and T‑892/16, not published, paragraph 5), has already granted confidential treatment. By that order, it was decided, in view of the request for confidential treatment of certain data contained in the documents submitted to the General Court, that only the non-confidential versions of the documents in question were to be disclosed to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Republic of Poland.

8        As regards, in the second place, the request for confidential treatment of Ireland’s statement in response, it is apparent from the particulars supplied by Ireland that confidential treatment is requested only in respect of information which has already been treated as confidential before the General Court. So far as concerns the passages in Annexes B.1 (p. 69) and B.2 (pp. 97, 98, 101 and 102) to that statement in response in respect of which confidential treatment is requested, they also contain information to which the President of the Seventh Chamber of the General Court, by order of 9 July 2019, Ireland and Others v Commission (T‑778/16 and T‑892/16, not published), has already granted confidential treatment.

9        It follows that it is necessary to grant the requests, submitted by Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe, on the one hand, and by Ireland, on the other, respectively, that the Court of Justice treat as confidential, vis-à-vis the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Republic of Poland, the information redacted from the non-confidential version of their respective statements in response lodged at the Registry of the Court.

10      In those circumstances, only the non-confidential version of those statements in response, lodged at the Court Registry by Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe and by Ireland on 11 December 2020 and 7 January 2021 respectively, are to be served by the Registrar on the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Republic of Poland.

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

1.      The information redacted from the non-confidential version of the statement in response of Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe, lodged at the Registry of the Court on 11 December 2020, shall be treated as confidential vis-à-vis the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Republic of Poland, and that non-confidential version alone shall be required to be served, by the Registrar, on those two Member States.

2.      The information redacted from the non-confidential version of the statement in response of Ireland, lodged at the Registry of the Court on 7 January 2021, shall be treated as confidential vis-à-vis the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Republic of Poland, and that non-confidential version alone shall be required to be served, by the Registrar, on those two Member States.

3.      The costs are reserved.


Luxembourg, 11 February 2021.


A. Calot Escobar

 

K. Lenaerts

Registrar

 

President


*      Language of the case: English.