27.2.2017   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 63/18


Action brought on 23 December 2016 — European Commission v United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

(Case C-669/16)

(2017/C 063/26)

Language of the case: English

Parties

Applicant: European Commission (represented by: J. Norris-Usher, C. Hermes, Agents)

Defendant: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The applicant claims that the Court should:

declare that, by failing to designate sites for the protection of the species phocoena phocoena (harbour porpoise) the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 4(1), Annex II and Annex III of Directive 92/43/EEC (1) on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora;

declare that by its corresponding failure to contribute to the creation of a Natura 2000 network in proportion to the representation within its territory of the habitats of the species harbour porpoise (phocoena phocoena), the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has also failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 3(2) of the same Directive;

order the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to pay the costs.

Pleas in law and main arguments

The harbour porpoise (phocoena phocoena) is an aquatic cetacean species which is listed in Annex II of the Habitats Directive as a species of community interest requiring the designation of specific areas of conservation. A significant population of the species within the European Union is hosted in marine waters in which the United Kingdom exercises sovereign rights.

Pursuant to Articles 3(2) and 4(1) as well as Annexes II and III of the Habitats Directive, Member States hosting the harbour porpoise in their marine waters shall propose sites for their protection and, by so doing, contribute to the creation of the Natura 2000 network. According to the case-law of the Court of Justice, the proposed list of sites must be exhaustive.

The United Kingdom has not proposed sufficient sites for the harbour porpoise.


(1)  OJ 1992, L 206, p. 7.