The EU General Court is this week hearing argument in Case T-715/14 NK Rosneft a.o. v. Council (on Wednesday 13 December) and Joined Cases T-735/14 & T-799/14 Gazprom Neft v. Council (on Thursday 14 December), in which the Russian energy companies Rosneft and Gazprom seek the annulment of EU sanctions targeted at the Russian oil & gas sector in the light of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine.
The challenged measures are within Council Decision 2014/521/CFSP as amended and Council Regulation (EU) 833/2014 as amended. The grounds for annulment include:
- A failure to comply with the duty to give reasons under Article 296 TFEU;
- Lack of a legitimate aim and/or lack of a rational connection with the stated aim;
- Breach of the EU-Russia Partnership and Co-Operation Agreement and/or the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade; and
- Disproportionate interference with the applicant’s rights under Article 16 (right to conduct a legitimate business) and Article 17 (right to property) of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Additional issues include:
- Whether, in relation to Decision 2014/512/CFSP, the applications meet the criteria imposed by Article 275 TFEU for the Court to have jurisdiction to rule on the validity of provisions within a Common Foreign and Security Policy Measure; and
- Whether, in relation to Regulation 833/2014, the applicants have standing under Article 263(4) TFEU either on the basis that they are directly and individually concerned, or on the basis that they are directly concerned and the provisions in question do not entail implementing measures.
Charles Banner is appearing as sole counsel for the United Kingdom, which is intervening in support of the EU Council’s defence of the applications.
For media coverage of the hearing, click here and here.