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European Court of Justice Allows Court Decision Regarding Favourable Emission Allowance Decision for Estonia to Stand

30.03.2012

No. 81-E

Today, 29 March, the European Court of Justice announced its decision regarding the emissions case C-505/09 P, ending a nearly five-year court case between Estonia and the European Commission. The European Court of Justice is allowing the General Court’s decision in favour of Estonia to stand, rejecting the European Commission’s appeals.

According to Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, the Court asserts that the annual quota is to be decided by each member state. “The Commission can evaluate the allocation plans submitted by member states. However, the Commission does not have the competence to establish a ceiling for quotas,” said Paet.

The foreign minister added that this is an important victory for Estonia, as the European Court of Justice confirmed Estonia’s assertion that the Commission was acting beyond its competence. The Court of Justice agrees with the decision of the General Court that of the demands Estonia mentioned in its 2007 suit, the 2007 decision of the European Commission regarding Estonia’s quota allowance scheme for 2008-2012 should be annulled.

In the aforementioned decision, the Commission essentially determined a quota ceiling for Estonia of 12.7 million tons per year. Thanks to success in the court case and the rejection of the Commission’s decision by the General Court, Estonia has now confirmed a new allowance plan for the period in a greater amount than was stated in the Commission’s original decision. In the Commission’s new decision of 5 December 2011 it confirmed Estonia’s new quota allowance plan of 13.3 million tons per year. Therefore the court case brought a positive outcome for Estonia even prior to today’s decision. In addition, the Commission must take the effect of the European Court of Justice verdict into consideration when making future decisions.

According to Foreign Minister Paet, this is also a significant legal victory considering that the average rate of success in cases initiated by member states against the European Commission is not very high.

Judgement of the Court: http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=121165&pa...

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