Case T-173/98 P, UPA [1999] ECR II-3357

For the Court of Justice case and ruling, click here

Key point

  • Lays out the how the test of individual concern is to be applied for associations under Article 263 TFEU

Facts

  • UPA, a trade association, sought the annulment of a Council Regulation withdrawing aid granted to producers of olive oil under Article 173 EEC Treaty (now Article 263 TFEU)
  • As the regulation did not require implementing measures, there was no way to contest the validity of the regulation in national court
  • UPA argued that its right to effective judicial protection would be denied if it is not given standing for a direct action to annul the regulation before the ECJ

Ruling (General Court)

  • UPA had no standing

Judgment

Test for individual concern not met

  • Under the test for individual concern, natural or legal persons must be able to show that they are affected by the measure in question by reason of certain attributes which are peculiar to them or by reason of factual circumstances in which they are differentiated from all other persons: [46]
  • Associations have an action only where:
    1. a legal provision expressly grants a series of procedural powers
    2. members would, themselves, be entitled to bring proceedings or
    3. the measure affects its own interests as an association in particular its negotiating position: [47]
  • None of those conditions were met: [48]
  • The contested regulation concerns the applicant’s members only on the basis of their objective capacity as operators trading in those markets, in the same way as all the other operators who trade in them: [50]

On the principle of effective protection argument

  • The factors mentioned by the applicant do not give reason to depart from case law on the limits placed on Article 173: [63]
  • Possible delay due to the preliminary reference procedure does not give reason to depart from case law either: [64]