23.10.2017   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 357/27


Action brought on 4 September 2017 — Spain v Commission

(Case T-602/17)

(2017/C 357/37)

Language of the case: Spanish

Parties

Applicant: Kingdom of Spain (represented by: M. Sampol Pucurull and A. Gavela Llopis, agents)

Defendant: European Commission

Form of order sought

The applicant claims that the General Court should:

annul Commission Implementing Decision C(2017) 4136 of 26 June 2017 excluding from European Union financing certain expenditure incurred by the Member States under the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF), fruit and vegetable sector, operational funds, in so far as it affects the Kingdom of Spain.

Pleas in law and main arguments

In support of its action, the applicant relies upon four pleas in law.

1.

First plea in law, alleging infringement of Article 26(2) of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 543/2011 of 7 June 2011 laying down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 in respect of the fruit and vegetables and processed fruit and vegetables sectors. (1)

The applicant claims in this regard that the Commission made a manifest error in finding a failure to check the criterion of recognition of the producers organisation’s main activity, inasmuch as that check is ensured by the adequate checking of the value of the production marketed.

It is also claimed that the Commission infringed the principle of protection of legitimate expectations, in that the Commission’s finding was inconsistent with the earlier finding in investigation FV/2010/004.

2.

Second plea in law, alleging infringement of Article 104(2)(d) of Regulation (EU) No 543/2011 and the principle of protection of legitimate expectations.

The applicant claims that the Commission made a manifest error with regard to this provision, in finding shortcomings in the checking of the criterion of consistency and technical quality of the investments relating to the requests for amendments to the operational programme, laid down in that provision. The applicant states in that regard that that article does not require an analysis linked to the commercial strategy of a producer organisation.

The applicant also claimed that the Commission infringed the principle of protection of legitimate expectations, in that the Commission’s finding was inconsistent with the earlier finding in investigation FV/2010/004.

3.

Third plea in law, alleging infringement of Article 59(c)(iv), Article 60(2) and (5) and Article 65 of Regulation (EU) No 543/2011 and the principle of protection of legitimate expectations.

The applicant claims that the Commission made a manifest error in finding shortcomings in the checking of the eligibility of the operational programme, because the regulation mentioned does not prohibit investment costs from being carried over to another annuity within the same operational programme.

Similarly, the Commission infringed the principle of protection of legitimate expectations in that the Commission’s finding is inconsistent with the reply given by the Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Agriculture of 19 November 2013 to queries from the Spanish authorities concerning the application of Article 65 of the Regulation.

4.

Fourth plea in law, alleging infringement of Article 52(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the financing, management and monitoring of the common agricultural policy and repealing Council Regulations (EEC) No 352/78, (EC) No 165/94, (EC) No 2799/98, (EC) No 814/2000, (EC) No 1290/2005 and (EC) No 485/2008 (2) and the Guidelines for the calculation of financial consequences contained in Document VI/5330/97.

The applicant claims in this regard that the flat-rate correction imposed is unfounded because there were no shortcomings in the checks. In the alternative, the applicant states that the correction is disproportionate and that, where appropriate, no correction or, as a last resort, a correction of 2 % should be imposed, given the specific circumstances and the Commission’s conduct in the present case.


(1)  OJ 2011 L 157, p. 1.

(2)  OJ 2013 L 347, p 549.