Official Journal of the European Union

C 337/30

Action brought on 30 July 2015 — Port Autonome du Centre et de l'Ouest and Others v Commission

(Case T-438/15)

(2015/C 337/31)

Language of the case: French


Applicants: Port Autonome du Centre et de l'Ouest SCRL (La Louvière, Belgium), Port Autonome de Namur (Namur, Belgium), Port Autonome de Charleroi (Charleroi, Belgium) and Région wallonne (represented by: J. Vanden Eynde, lawyer)

Defendant: European Commission

Form of order sought

The applicants claim that the Court should:

declare the application admissible on the part of each of the applicants and consequently annul the Commission decision reference SA.38393(2014/CP) — taxation of ports in Belgium;

declare the present action admissible and well-founded;

consequently, annul the decision of the Commission to regard as State aid incompatible with the internal market the fact that the economic activities of Belgian ports, and in particular Walloon ports, are not subjected to corporate tax;

order the defendant to pay the costs.

Pleas in law and main arguments

In support of the action, the applicants rely on six pleas in law.


First plea in law, alleging, generally, that the Commission’s assertions are neither supported by the facts nor justified in law.


Second plea in law, alleging that the assertion that the taxation system at issue constitutes corporation tax is not justified in law.


Third plea in law, alleging that the Commission neglected to take into account Member States’ prerogatives over:

the definition of non-economic activities;

the definition of direct taxation;

the obligation to ensure the proper functioning of services of general interest necessary for social and economic cohesion;

the discretionary organisation of services in the public interest.


Fourth plea in law, alleging that the essential activities of the Walloon ports are services of public interest that are not governed, in accordance with European legislation (Articles 93 and 106(2) TFEU), by the competition rules laid down by Article 107 TFEU.


Fifth plea in law, put forward in the alternative, alleging that if the essential activities of the inland Walloon ports fall within the scope of services of general economic interest, they are governed by the rules of Articles 93 and 106(2) TFEU and that the competition rules are not applicable to them.


Sixth plea in law, put forward in the further alternative, alleging that the European criteria for the definition of State aid are not met.