26.3.2018   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 112/35


Action brought on 19 January 2018 — France v Commission

(Case T-26/18)

(2018/C 112/45)

Language of the case: French

Parties

Applicant: French Republic (represented by: F. Alabrune, D. Colas, A.-L. Desjonquères and S. Horrenberger, acting as Agents)

Defendant: European Commission

Form of order sought

The applicant claims that the General Court should:

annul in part Commission Implementing Decision C(2017) 7263 final of 8 November 2017 excluding from European Union financing certain expenditure incurred by the Member States under the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), notified to the French Government on 9 November 2017, in so far as it:

includes a correction of EUR 2 246 700 as a result of taking into account landscape features in the context of alleged non-compliance with good agricultural and environmental conditions (GAEC), as regards ‘Deficiencies in the LPIS’ for claim years 2013 and 2014;

includes a flat-rate correction covering all the areas which include at least one area described as ‘landes et parcours’ and not only areas described as ‘ineligible areas (“landes et parcours”)’ for claim years 2013 and 2014;

concerns ‘Most Likely Error — FEADER SIGC — 2014-2020’ in the context of audit CEB/2016/047; and

applies a flat-rate correction of 100 % to the Département of Haute-Corse, for claim years 2013 and 2014, in regard to ‘Control system gravely deficient Corse’;

order the Commission to pay the costs.

Pleas in law and main arguments

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

1.

First plea in law, alleging infringement of Article 6(1) of, and Annex III to, Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 of 19 January 2009 establishing common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy and establishing certain support schemes for farmers.

According to the applicant, that infringement resulted from the fact that the Commission considered that, first, elements such as rock outcrops, ponds and small woods covered by French legislation do not come within the GAEC and, second, that those provisions require the individual protection of each landscape element and, consequently, that those elements could not be incorporated in the total area of agricultural land.

2.

Second plea in law, alleging infringement of the principle of proportionality. In this regard, the applicant considers that, although the dispute concerns only the areas described as ‘landes et parcours’, the Commission adopted a correction based on all the areas in cases which include such areas, and thus includes the share of those areas which are not areas of that kind, and in any event ignored the calculations sent by the French authorities.

3.

Third plea in law, alleging that the Commission relied on data which it accepted contrary to Article 6(1) of Regulation No 73/2009 and Annex III thereto, in order to carry out a financial correction of EUR 13 127 243,30 as regards the EAFRD programming period 2014-2020 (‘RDR 3’).

4.

Fourth plea in law, alleging infringement of the principle of proportionality and breach of the duty to state reasons as regards ‘Control system gravely deficient Corse’ for claim years 2013 and 2014 in the contested decision, in that the Commission applies a flat-rate correction of 100 % to the Département of Haute-Corse.