Pesticides – Europe
The ECJ has thrown out three separate actions challenging the opinion of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
The actions, mounted by three agrochemicals manufacturers – Dow AgroSciences Ltd, FMC Chemical SPRL and Arysta Lifesciences SAS – challenged EFSA opinions given during the evaluation of plant protection products containing haloxyfop-R, carbosulfan and carbofuran.
Dow, FMC and Arysta Claim asked the ECJ to annul the EFSA’s opinion and to award them compensation for loss of profits, damage to reputation, and for costs associated with late requests for data.
In rejecting the applications for annulment the Court held that only measures which were binding and capable of affecting the applicants interests by bringing a distinct change in their legal position were acts or decisions against which proceedings for annulment could be brought.
The Court ruled that as the EFSA’s opinion was only a preliminary step in the procedure for the evaluation of active substances under the Directive concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, it was not a measure against which proceedings for annulment could be brought.
The Court held that only a Commission directive to include the active substance in Annex 1 of the Directive concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, and/or a decision to withdraw the plant protection products containing the active substance, could be regarded as the final step in the procedure for the evaluation of active substances contained in plant protection products.
The Court also threw out the claims for damages on grounds of inadmissibility after finding that the applicants had not quantified the damage suffered or put forward any facts enabling the extent of that damage to be assessed.
The ECJ has thrown out an appeal raised by chemicals company Makhteshim-Agan against a ruling of the Court of First Instance which dismissed their application for interim measures seeking suspension of an EU wide ban on their pesticide product azinphos-methyl.
In refusing the appeal, on grounds of inadmissibility, the Court held that granting the interim measures as sought would have the effect of suspending the Directive 91/414/EEC concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market.
As a result of the Court’s decision, the EU ban on azinphos-methy stands.
The Order of the ECJ in case C-277/07 can be found here.