C-294-83 Parti Ecologiste "Les Verts" v European Parliament

The rule of law and the judicial system of the European

Since under Article 173(1) of the EEC Treaty (now Article 263 TFEU), only the acts adopted by the Council and by the Commission could be challenged in Court (“The Court of Justice shall review the lawfulness of acts other than recommendations or opinions of the Council and the Commission. For this purpose, it shall be competent to give judgment on appeals by a Member State, the Council or the Commission on grounds of incompetence, of errors of substantial form, of infringement of this Treaty or of any legal provision relating to its application, or of abuse of power”), later, the Article 263 of the TFEU extended that list by establishing that “The Court of Justice of the European Union shall review the legality of legislative acts, of acts of the Council, of the Commission and of the European Central Bank, other than recommendations and opinions, and of acts of the European Parliament and of the European Council intended to produce legal effects vis-à-vis third parties. It shall also review the legality of acts of bodies, offices or agencies of the Union intended to produce legal effects vis-à-vis third parties”.

 

This legendary judgement extended the list of reviewable acts of the European Parliament by the Court of Justice of the European Union by considering in this case that “An interpretation of Article 173 of the Treaty which excluded measures adopted by the European Parliament from those which could be contested by means of an action for annulment would lead to a result contrary both to the spirit of the treaty as expressed in Article 164 and to its scheme”.

 

In this historical case law, it was also emphasized that “The European Economic Community is a community based on the rule of law, inasmuch as neither its Member States nor its institutions can avoid a review of the question whether the measures adopted by them are in conformity with the basic constitutional charter, the Treaty”.

 

It was the first judicial recognition of the European Union as a Community based on the rule of law and contributed to the Community’s constitutional system and the role of the European Court of Justice in that system.

 

Case Summary

“Les verts” – Parti Ecologist, a non-profit-making association whose headquarters are in Paris, brought an action for annulment against the Decision of the Bureau of the European Parliament dated 12 October 1982 concerning the allocation of the appropriations entered under item 3708 of the general budget of the European Communities and the Decision of the enlarged bureau of the European Parliament dated 29 October 1983 adopting rules governing the use of the appropriations for reimbursement of expenditure incurred by the political groupings having taken part in the 1984 European elections.

 

Parti Ecologiste “Les Verts” claimed that there were infringements concerning the election of the representatives of the Assembly by direct universal suffrage and the principle of the equality of all citizens before the law governing elections and that the system was unfair in distribution against newer parties, among others.

 

It was clarified that the reimbursement of election campaign expenses and the introduction of detailed arrangements for its implementation remain within the competence of the Member States and that those decisions infringe Article 7 (2) of the Act of 20 September 1976 concerning the election of the representatives of the Assembly by direct universal suffrage, because the electoral procedure shall be governed in each Member State by its national provisions.


Consequently, the European Court of Justice decided to declare null those Decisions.

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