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Action brought on 17 July 2023 – Republic of Poland v European Parliament and Council of the European Union

(Case C-444/23)

Language of the case: Polish


Applicant: Republic of Poland (represented by: B. Majczyna, acting as Agent)

Defendants: European Parliament and Council of the European Union

Form of order sought

The applicant claims that the Court should:

annul, in its entirety, Regulation (EU) 2023/851 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 April 2023 amending Regulation (EU) 2019/631 as regards strengthening the CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and new light commercial vehicles in line with the Union’s increased climate ambition; 1

in the alternative, if the Court of Justice finds that the pleas in law raised are not such as to justify the head of claim seeking annulment of that regulation in its entirety, annul Regulation 2023/851 in part, in so far as it concerns the establishment of the emissions targets, applicable from 1 January 2035, for new passenger cars and new light commercial vehicles set out in Article 1(1)(b) of that regulation;

order the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union to pay the costs.

Pleas in law and main arguments

1. Plea alleging infringement of Article 192(2)(c) TFEU

In Poland’s view, the defendant institutions have infringed Article 192(2)(c) TFEU by failing to adopt the contested regulation on the basis of that Treaty provision, which requires unanimity in the Council, despite the fact that the contested regulation significantly affects a Member State’s choice between different energy sources and the general structure of its energy supply.

2. Plea alleging infringement of Article 3(1) and (3) TEU, Article 9 TFEU, and Article 6(1) TEU, read in conjunction with Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union

Poland considers that, by establishing the emissions targets for new passenger cars and new light commercial vehicles laid down in Article 1(1)(b) of the contested regulation, which will give rise to serious consequences for the European automotive industry and the economic sectors relating thereto, as well as for society, the EU legislature has failed to fulfil the obligation to promote the well-being of the peoples of the Union (Article 3(1) TEU), the obligation to promote social justice, the obligation to work for balanced economic growth and to promote economic, social and territorial cohesion, as well as solidarity among Member States (Article 3(3) TEU), and the obligation to take into account requirements linked to the promotion of a high level of employment and the fight against social exclusion (Article 9 TFEU), and has acted in breach of the prohibition on discrimination on grounds of property resulting from the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Article 21(1)).

3. Plea alleging breach of the principle of proportionality (Article 5(4) TEU) and infringement of Article 191(2) TFEU

Poland takes the view that the provisions of the contested regulation are at odds with the principle of proportionality because, first, they are not suitable for attaining the objectives of Article 191(2) TFEU and, second, the disadvantages resulting from those provisions, including costs, are manifestly excessive in relation to the objectives pursued. In Poland’s view, the costs of aligning the economies and societies in the Union with the strengthened CO2 emissions reduction standards set out in the contested regulation significantly exceed the benefits resulting therefrom. The contested regulation imposes excessive burdens connected with the transition towards zero-emission mobility on European citizens, especially those who are less well off, as well as on the European automotive companies sector. The contested regulation risks giving rise to serious negative consequences for the European automotive industry, social exclusion, transport exclusion of poorer persons, and increased disparity between citizens as regards the standard of living. In addition, the contested regulation does not take sufficient account of the diversity of situations in the various regions of the Union, which constitutes an infringement of Article 191(2) TFEU.

4. Plea alleging failure to fulfil the obligation to carry out a proper analysis of the effect of the contested regulation, as well as infringement of Article 191(3) TFEU

In Poland’s view, the defendant institutions have failed to fulfil the obligation to provide an adequate impact assessment, since the impact assessment accompanying the proposed regulation contains fundamental shortcomings as regards the effect on individual Member States of the commitments and targets set out in that regulation. At the same time, insufficient account has been taken of the available scientific and technical data, the potential benefits and costs connected with action or lack of action, and the economic and social development of the Union as a whole and the balanced development of its regions. This constitutes an infringement of Article 191(3) TFEU.


1 OJ 2023 L 110, p. 5.