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Challenge mounted to Court judgment on opposing access to the documents concerning the EU-Turkey deal of 18 March 2016

- the General Court made several errors of law and that it was wrong to decline jurisdiction"

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On 28 February 2017 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) rejected three applicants' cases requesting access to the documents held by the Council of the European Union concerning the EU-Turkey deal of 18 March 2016. The Court argued that:

"the three actions as inadmissible on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction. In particular, the General Court held that the EU-Turkey Statement did not relate to an act of the European Council nor of any other body, office or agency of the Union and hence that the actions fell outside the Court's jurisdiction." [LIMITE doc no: 9148-17, pdf) [emphasis added]

On 23 April 2017 the three applicants lodged an appeal against the judgment on the general grounds that:

"the appellants claim that the General Court made several errors of law and that it was wrong to decline jurisdiction. They request the Court of Justice to rule that their actions for annulment of the EU-Turkey Statement are within the Court's jurisdiction and to send the cases back to the General Court for a decision on the merits of their claims." [emphasis added]

The basis of the appeal

"The Appellants invoke the following pleas in support of their appeals:

(i) The General Court failed to give reasons for rejecting the Applicants' legal arguments.

(ii) The General Court failed to properly consider whether the EU-Turkey Statement (which the Appellants refer to as the 'challenged Agreement') was in reality a decision of the European Council.

(iii) The General Court ignored relevant factual issues, including the fact that the intended effect of EU-Turkey Statement is to deprive the Appellants of their fundamental rights.

(iv) The General Court unlawfully concentrated on the alleged procedural history of the EU-Turkey Statement and failed to consider evidence before it.

(v) The General Court unlawfully failed to investigate and assess material issues. The Appellants claim that there exists written legal advice within the EU institutions, and in particular of the Commission, on the legality of the EU-Turkey Statement and that the General Court should have requested this advice and considered this.

(vi) The General Court unlawfully failed to make further relevant enquiries. In particular, the Appellants claim that the Court should not have accepted the answers given by the Commission to some of the questions put to it.

(vii) The General Court came to its decision that the EU-Turkey Statement was not an act of the European Council based on an erroneous factual assessment.

(viii) The General Court unlawfully disregarded the principles established in Case 294/83 Parti écologiste "Les Verts" v European Parliament (Judgment of the Court of 23 April 1986, EU:C:1986:166)."
[emphasis added]


Press release: The General Court declares that it lacks jurisdiction to hear and determine the actions brought by three asylum seekers against the EU-Turkey statement which seeks to resolve the migration crisis (28 February 2017, pdf) and Judgment (pdf)

The orders issued by the court: NF (T-192/16), NG (T-193/16), NM (T-257/16) (pdfs)

And the "deal": EU-Turkey statement, 18 March 2016 (pdf)

See also: The Council's response to Statewatch's request for documents concerning the EU-Turkey deal (pdf).

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