9.2.2008   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 37/5


Reference for a preliminary ruling from the Tribunal Supremo (Spain) lodged on 19 November 2007 — Compañía Española de Comercialización de Aceite, SA v Asociación Española de la Industria y Comercio Exportador de Aceite de Oliva (ASOLIVA), Asociación Nacional de Industriales Envasadores y Refinadores de Aceites Comestibles (ANIERAC) and Administración del Estado

(Case C-505/07)

(2008/C 37/06)

Language of the case: Spanish

Referring court

Tribunal Supremo

Parties to the main proceedings

Applicant: Compañía Española de Comercialización de Aceite, SA

Defendants: Asociación Española de la Industria y Comercio Exportador de Aceite de Oliva (ASOLIVA), Asociación Nacional de Industriales Envasadores y Refinadores de Aceites Comestibles (ANIERAC) and Administración del Estado

Questions referred

1.

Does the reference to ‘bodies’ authorised to conclude contracts for the storage of olive oil in Article 12a of Council Regulation (EEC) No 136/66 (1) of 22 September 1966 on the establishment of a common organisation of the market in oils and fats, in the version introduced by Regulation 1638/98 (2), cover a company whose shareholders predominantly comprise producers, oil pressers and olive growers' cooperatives, as well as financial institutions? Can a company with these characteristics be considered equivalent to producer groups and associations thereof recognised under Regulation (EC) 952/97 (3)?

2.

In the event that the company falls within the description of ‘bodies’ capable of carrying out storage activities, can the ‘approval by the Member State’ which such bodies require by virtue of Article 12a of Regulation 136/66, be obtained as part of an application for a specific exemption (‘authorisation’) made to the national competition authorities?

3.

Does Article 12a of Regulation 136/66 constitute an absolute requirement that the Commission authorise the private storage of olive oil in each case or, on the contrary, is it compatible with the existence of a mechanism agreed between producers for the privately financed acquisition and storage of such olive oil, which would be activated exclusively on the same terms and conditions which activate Community-financed private storage, with the aim of supplementing and speeding up such Community-financed storage without going beyond it?

4.

Can the reasoning given by the Court of Justice in Case C-137/00 Milk Marque [2003] ECR I-7975 relating to the application by domestic authorities of national competition rules to producers' agreements which are capable, in principle, of being covered by Article 2 of Council Regulation No 26 (4) (applying certain rules of competition to production of and trade in agricultural products) be extended to agreements which, by their nature and by nature of the sector in question, could affect the Community market in olive oil as a whole?

5.

In the event that the national competition authorities are competent to apply national laws to the aforementioned agreements which are capable of affecting the common organisation of the market in fats, can those authorities refuse absolutely to allow a company such as the appellant to make use of the storage mechanisms for olive oil even in situations of ‘serious disturbance’ as contemplated by Article 12a of Regulation 136/66?


(1)  OJ English Special Edition 1965-1966, p. 221.

(2)  Council Regulation (EC) No 1638/98 of 20 July 1998 amending Regulation No 136/66/EEC on the establishment of a common organisation of the markets in oils and fats (OJ 1998 L 210, p. 32).

(3)  Council Regulation (EC) No 952/97 of 20 May 1997 on producer groups and associations thereof (OJ 1997 L 142, p. 30).

(4)  OJ English Special Edition 1959-1962, p. 129.