European Parliament takes Council to court over "Solana Two" Decision

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Action brought on 4 July 2001 by the European Parliament against the Council of the European Union

(Case C-260/01) (2001/C 245/23)

An action against the Council of the European Union was brought before the Court of Justice of the European Communities on 4 July 2001 by the European Parliament, represented by R. Passos and A. Caiola, acting as Agents, with an address for service in Luxembourg.

The European Parliament claims that the Court should:

- annul, pursuant to Article 230 EC, Council Decision 2001/264lEC of 19 March 2001 adopting the Council's security regulations.

Pleas in law and main arguments

- Infringement of the EC Treaty, and in particiular Article 255 thereof: it is clear on reading Articles 255 EC and 207 EC that the act of the Council mentioned in Article 207 must be consistent with the general principles and limits laid down in the basic act referred to in Article 255(2) EC. It is of fundamental importance that the heirarchical order of these provisions is complied with in full by the Parliament, the Council and the Commission if acts adopted jointly pursuant to Article 255(2) EC are to be effective. The act pursuant to the codecision procedure must be adopted first. Only then will the three institutions be in a position to lay down their own specific provisions governing the public's right of access to their documents. The basic act in question, namely Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of thc European Parliament and the Council regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, was adopted on 30 May 2001. Whilst the European Parliament and the Commission followed the order prescribed by Article 255 EC, the Council, in infringement thereof, did not, and on 19 March 2001 adopted Decision 2001/264.

- Breach of essential procedural requirements: it is clear from the express purpose and content of Decision 2001/264/EC that it deals with matters going beyond the internal operations of the Council. It has in fact created legal obligations on the part of the Member States and Community satellite organisations. In order to do that, the Council ought not to have availed itself of the provisions of Article 207(3) EC and Article 24 of Council Decision 2000/396/EC of 5 June 2000, but should instead have had recourse to a different legal basis allowing, in any event, for the initiative of the Commission and the involvement of the European Parliament in the legislative procedure, such as Article 255 EC andlor Article 308 EC. By its actions, the Council has thwarted a prerogative power of the European Parliament.

- Failure by the Council to fulfil its duty of sincere cooperation, as guaranteed by Article 10 EC: the Council adopted an implementing act before the relevant basic act had been adopted by the competent institutions. When the Council adopted its decision, that is to say, on 19 March 2001, the legislative procedure leading to the adoption of the act provided for in Article 255(2) EC was already at a very advanced stage. The Council makes no mention in the contested decision of any urgent reasons justifying its approach. Nor did it ever indicate to the Parliament any urgency in connection with the adoption of its security regulation.

- Breach of the principle of institutional balance.

Source: OJ C 245/13, 1.9.01

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