Appeal brought on 1 March 2021 by Lukáš Wagenknecht against the order of the General Court (Eighth Chamber) delivered on 17 December 2020 in Case T-350/20, Wagenknecht v Commission

(Case C-130/21 P)

Language of the case: English

Parties

Appellant: Lukáš Wagenknecht (represented by: A. Koller, advokátka)

Other party to the proceedings: European Commission

Form of order sought

The applicant claims that the Court should:

set aside in full the order of the General Court in the case T-350/20, Wagenknecht v Commission;

order the Commission to pay the costs.

Pleas in law and main arguments

The first plea in law alleging violation of the duty of impartiality due to the conflict of interest of judge Laitenberger of the General Court resulting from, first, the fact that until 2019 he was employed as a Director-General of the European Commission and, second, that within that post he gave in 2018 in communication with the appellant an official view via his spokesperson, which said that European Commission should avoid examining possibly illegal state aid to the Agrofert Group. Such situation gives objective impression of conflict of interest of judge Laitenberger, irrespective of whether a concrete conflict of interest rule was breached.

The second plea in law alleging violation of the duty of conscientiousness of judges of the General Court resulting from their inability to recognise the fundamental importance of this case in relation to basic institutional functioning of the EU and its fundamental values and adjustment of the procedure and the resulting order to this aspects.

The third plea in law alleging violation of the duty of independence of the Eighth Chamber of the General Court due to having uncritically subscribed to the litigation strategy of the European Commission aiming at avoiding substantive control of its acts as a public institution as well as having effectively abandoned judicial control of institutions of the European Union, including the European Commission, in relation to their obligation to enforce prohibition of conflict of interest in relation to the EU budget.

The fourth plea in law alleging denial of justice to the appellant by the General Court by not allowing sanctioning of public institutions of the EU, including the European Commission, if they infringed concrete provisions of EU law and breached fundamental values of EU. Preventing EU citizens and their elected representatives to sue such institutions for failure to act would constitute „denial of justice“.

The fifth plea in law alleging violation of the right to life of the appellant since the General Court did not examine the evidenced claim of the appellant that his life is threatened due to his assertion of rights before the Court of Justice concerning, although indirectly, the conflict of interest of the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.

The sixth plea in law alleging violation of the right to a fair trial under Article 6(1) ECHR and Article 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Right due to, first, absence of assessment of most of applicant’s arguments stemming from the quantitative as well as qualitative ignorance of arguments of the appellant, second, the use of „argumentation fouls“ in relation to the few arguments of the appellant consisting in positive and negative misinterpretation of the arguments of the appellant and, third, absence of any assessment of appellant’s arguments.

The seventh plea in law alleging violation of the fundamental value of democracy due to the fact that overall procrastination of the EU institutions to resolve the problem of conflict of interest of the Czech Prime Minister is advantageous for them as it allows the European Commission and other Member States to more easily „extract consent“ from the Czech Republic in the European Council on issues that are in the interest of those other Member States and the European Commission, but not in the interest of the Czech Republic, which effectively diminishes the value of votes the Czech Republic has as a Member State in European Council.

The eighth plea in law alleging violation of the fundamental value of rule of law by the General Court when stating that there a member of a Parliament of a Member State has no interest to ask the Court whether the EU executive branch (Commission) respects obligations resulting for it from the binding EU legislation and that there is no interest of an EU taxpayer to ask the Court, via its elected representative, a chairman of the Permanent Committee of the Czech Republic, for control of legality of distribution of public funds and of whether the EU executive branch (Commission) complies and enforces rules on proper distribution of taxpayers‘ money.

The ninth plea in law alleging violation of the fundamental value of equality before law by the General Court since the EU would no longer be an international organisation respecting the fundamental value of equality before law if, as claimed by the Commission and confirmed by the General Court, some persons and institutions (national ones) would be bound by Article 61 of the Financial Regulation1 and Article 325(1) TFEU, whereas other persons (Commissioners) and institutions (Commission) would effectively not be bound by it as there would be no one to sue them before the Court of Justice in case the latter two would violate those articles by their failure to act consisting in non-respect of obligations resulting from those articles.

The tenth plea in law alleging violation of the fundamental value of rule of law because the refusal to act, which breaches the fundamental values of the EU, cannot be healed by the Commission’s continuous refusal to act.

The eleventh plea in law alleging violation of principles common to legal systems of Member States, namely the principle of prohibition of conflict of interest of public officers, including members of the government, which also involves an effective enforcement of this principle, which, in turn, presupposes a possibility for a person with different interest than those of an institution of the European Union, including the European Commission, to bring an action for failure of the European Commission to effectively enforce the prohibition of conflict of interest.

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1 Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, amending Regulations (EU) No 1296/2013, (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013, (EU) No 1304/2013, (EU) No 1309/2013, (EU) No 1316/2013, (EU) No 223/2014, (EU) No 283/2014, and Decision No 541/2014/EU and repealing Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 (OJ 2018, L 193, p. 1).