European Court of Justice decides in favor of European Parliament in cod case
Today the European Court of Justice ruled in favour of the European Parliament regarding the multiannual cod plan in the Atlantic and North Sea (Case C-124/13).
Read the Court ruling here.
This means that the Council of the EU did not have the authority to split the proposal for a multiannual cod plan and adopting part of it without the EP’s consent. The Court confirms the Parliament’s view that the contested regulation was adopted on the wrong legal basis, concluding that the act should be annulled.
Alain Cadec (EPP, FR), Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries said “I welcome the Court’s decision. Now it is clear: multiannual plans are under co-decision. The Parliament has a key role to play in Common Fisheries Policy decision-making”.
This decision will act as a precedent for future such cases since the Court’s decision also states that the articles in question indeed “define the legal framework in which fishing opportunities are established and allocated. They thus result from a policy choice having a long-term impact on the multiannual recovery plan for cod stocks”. They are “not confined — contrary to the Council’s contention — to merely providing for the fixing and actual allocation of fishing opportunities in specific circumstances and on an annual basis […] each measure that entails policy choices as to how to pursue any of the objectives of the common agricultural or fisheries policies belongs to be taken by the legislature, to the European Parliament and the Council jointly”.
In December 2012, the Council partly amended the cod plan, specifically the articles on rules for fixing the catch limits, without following the ordinary legislative procedure of co-decision, claiming that these fall under its competence under Article 43(3) TFEU which provides that the Council, on a proposal from the Commission, is to adopt measures on the fixing and allocation of fishing opportunities. As a consequence, this legal basis excluded the Parliament from taking part in the adoption of the act.
The European Parliament, as well as the European Commission, however claimed that these multiannual fisheries management plans in their entirety make policy choices which should be decided under the ordinary legislative procedure (co-decision), i.e. according to Article 43(2) TFEU which is the new legal basis in the Treaty of Lisbon for measures that are necessary for the pursuit of the objectives of the common agricultural and fisheries policies. The Parliament thus demanded to be fully associated in its co-legislator role to the establishment of the multi-annual fishery plans, which are a key element of the Common Fisheries Policy.