Order of the Court of 21 March 1997. - Région wallonne v Commission of the European Communities. - Action for annulment - Manifest lack of jurisdiction of the Court - Referral to Court of First Instance. - Case C-95/97.

European Court reports 1997 Page I-01787



Procedure - Division of jurisdiction between the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance - Actions brought by Member States - Definition - Action brought before the Court of Justice by a regional authority of a federal State - Manifest lack of jurisdiction - Referral to the Court of First Instance

(ECSC Treaty, Art. 33; EC Treaty, Art. 173; ECSC Statute of the Court of Justice, Art. 47, para. 2; EC Statute of the Court of Justice, Art. 47, para. 2; Council Decisions 88/591, 93/350 and 94/149)


Since the entry into force of Decision 94/149, the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice is limited to actions brought by a Member State or a Community institution.

In this respect, it is apparent from the general scheme of the Treaties that the term `Member State', for the purposes of the institutional provisions and, in particular, those relating to proceedings before the courts, refers only to government authorities of the Member States of the European Communities and cannot include the governments of regions or autonomous communities, irrespective of the powers they may have. If the contrary were true, it would undermine the institutional balance provided for by the Treaties, which, inter alia, govern the conditions under which the Member States, that is to say, the States party to the Treaties establishing the Communities and the Accession Treaties, participate in the functioning of the Community institutions. It is not possible for the European Communities to comprise a greater number of Member States than the number of States between which they were established.

Accordingly, the Court of Justice clearly has no jurisdiction to take cognizance of an action for annulment brought under Article 33 of the ECSC Treaty and with reference to Article 173 of the EC Treaty by a legal person such as a regional federal authority, and must, in accordance with the second paragraph of Article 47 of the EC and ECSC Statutes, refer the action to the Court of First Instance.