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Piraiki-Patraiki v Commission

[1985] ECR 207

Case summary last updated at 08/02/2020 17:43 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Piraiki-Patraiki v Commission

Ps, who exported cotton to France, sought to challenge a Council decision to allow the French government to impose quotas on cotton imported to France from Greece. Ps argued that because they were the dominant undertakings exporting cotton from Greece to France, had been so for a long time, and that there were strong barriers to entry, such as factory costs etc, they constituted an individually identifiable class and that the activity was not one that anyone could just take part in (seems to make sense from economic POV). ECJ rejected this and denied standing. 
ECJ: the need for national implementation of the decision is insufficient to rule out the possibility of a decision ‘directly affecting’ Ps. Also the fact that the French govt could have theoretically chosen not to take advantage of the power to impose quotas did not prevent the decision from directly affecting Ps, since the French always intended to use those powers, so that it cannot be argued that it was the national, rather than EC decision which affected Ps directly. Therefore Ps were directly affected by the decision. HOWEVER there was no ‘individual concern’: The export of cotton was merely “a commercial activity which can be carried on by any enterprise at any time. It follows that the disputed decision concerns the applicants in the same way as any other firm which is, actually or potentially, in an identical situation.” The only exception is for companies who had concluded contracts before the decision was reached and notified to those companies, and whose contracts were supposed to be performed in the period after the quotas were in fact brought in. Those companies were individually concerned as they are distinct from all the others. This judgment is good on what is meant by ‘directly affected’, but wrongly follows Plaumann on ‘individual concern’: it is economically wrong to say that anyone could enter the export market as there are barriers to entry! Same objections to Plaumann apply.

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