Language of document : ECLI:EU:C:2015:178


3 March 2015 (*)

(Appeal — Application to intervene — Interest in the result of the case — Admission)

In Case C‑673/13 P,

APPEAL under Article 56 of the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union, brought on 17 December 2013,

European Commission, represented by B. Smulders, P. Oliver, P. Ondrůšek and L. Pignataro-Nolin, acting as Agents, with an address for service in Luxembourg,


the other parties to the proceedings being:

Stichting Greenpeace Nederland, established in Amsterdam (Netherlands),

Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe), established in Brussels (Belgium),

represented by B. Kloostra, advocaat,

applicants at first instance,


having regard to the proposal from A. Tizzano, Judge-Rapporteur,

after hearing the Advocate General, P. Cruz Villalón,

makes the following


1        By its appeal, the European Commission seeks to have set aside the judgment of the General Court of the European Union in Stichting Greenpeace Nederland and PAN Europe v Commission (T‑545/11, EU:T:2013:523), by which the General Court annulled the Commission’s decision of 10 August 2011 refusing to grant Stichting Greenpeace Nederland and Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe) access to volume 4 of the Draft Assessment Report (‘volume 4’) issued by the Federal Republic of Germany as rapporteur Member State for the active substance glyphosate under Council Directive 91/414/EEC of 15 July 1991 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market (OJ 1991 L 230, p. 1), inasmuch as that decision refuses access to the parts of that volume containing information relating to emissions into the environment: the ‘identity’ and quantity of all of the impurities in the active substance notified by each operator, set out in part C.1.2.1 of the first sub-document (pp. 11 to 61 of volume 4), in part C.1.2.1 of the second sub-document (pp. 1 to 6 of volume 4) and in part C.1.2.1 of the third sub-document (pp. 4 and 8 to 13 of volume 4); the impurities present in the various batches and the minimum, median and maximum quantities of each of those impurities, set out, for each operator, in the table included in part C.1.2.2 of the first sub-document (pp. 61 to 84 of volume 4) and in part C.1.2.4 of the third sub-document (p. 7 of volume 4); and the composition of the plant protection products developed by the operators, set out in part C.1.3, entitled ‘Detailed specification of the preparations (Annex III A 1.4)’, of the first sub-document (pp. 84 to 88 of volume 4).

2        By document lodged at the Court Registry on 17 April 2014, CropLife International (‘CLI’) applied for leave to intervene in the present appeal in support of the form of order sought by the Commission. By letter lodged on 12 May 2014, the Commission stated that it had no observations to make on that application to intervene.

3        That application to intervene was made pursuant to the second paragraph of Article 40 of the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union and in accordance with Articles 130 and 190(2) of the Rules of Procedure of the Court.

4        Under the second paragraph of Article 40 of the Statute of the Court, the right to intervene in a case before the Court is open to any person establishing an interest in the result of that case.

5        In particular, the Court allows interventions by representative associations which have as their object the protection of their members’ interests in cases raising questions of principle liable to affect those members (see, inter alia, orders of the President of the Court in Pharos v Commission, C‑151/98 P, EU:C:1998:440, paragraphs 6 and 8, and in Commission v Andersen, C‑303/13 P, EU:C:2014:226, paragraph 8).

6        In support of its application to intervene, CLI submits that it is a not-for-profit organisation representing the interests of most of the companies operating in the plant science industry. Its members account for approximately 75% of sales across the crop protection industry worldwide.

7        CLI’s principal objective, as set out in its statutes, consists in promoting the interests of its members as regards, inter alia, the protection of intellectual property and, in particular, confidential business information.

8        In the present case, CLI argues that the appeal brought against the judgment in Stichting Greenpeace Nederland and PAN Europe v Commission (EU:T:2013:523) raises questions of principle which may affect the plant science industry, including the activities of CLI’s members.

9        In particular, those questions could result in the need for the industry in question to restructure significantly the way it conducts its business as regards the generation and sharing of data and information, as well as the protection thereof.

10      In that respect, it must be held that the present appeal, since it concerns a conflict between the right of access to documents concerning the environment and the protection of confidential business information that manufacturers of chemical products are required to submit to the competent authority, raises a question of principle liable to affect the interests of the members of CLI.

11      In those circumstances, CLI has demonstrated to the requisite legal standard that it possesses — as a representative professional association for the purposes of the case-law cited in paragraph 5 of the present order — an interest in the result of the case.

12      It follows that the application to intervene submitted by CLI must be granted.


13      As the application to intervene submitted by CLI has been granted, the costs relating thereto are reserved.

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

1.      CropLife International is granted leave to intervene in support of the form of order sought by the European Commission.

2.      A period shall be prescribed within which CropLife International is to state in writing the pleas in law in support of the form of order which it seeks.

3.      The Registrar shall serve on CropLife International a copy of every document served on the parties.

4.      The costs are reserved.


* Language of the case: English.