The Council enacted a Framework Decision under the Third Pillar, Title VI TEU, requiring states to impose criminal sanctions for certain environmental offenses. Commission argued that since the measure was dealing with environmental protection, it came within the competence of the first pillar of the European Union (i.e. the EC) and ought to have been enacted under art.175. The ECJ accepted this and annulled the measure.
ECJ said: Court accepted that in general neither criminal law nor procedure came within 1st pillar, but said that this did not prevent the Community legislature from taking measures to impose criminal sanctions where needed to prevent environmental offences. This is important as it prevents the emasculation of the EC Treaty by the more intergovernmental approach found in pillars 2 and 3.