Official Journal of the European Union

C 294/44

Appeal brought on 10 July 2015 by the European Commission against the judgment of the General Court (Fourth Chamber) delivered on 29 April 2015 in Case T-470/11 Total and Elf Aquitaine v Commission

(Case C-351/15 P)

(2015/C 294/56)

Language of the case: French


Appellant: European Commission (represented by: V. Bottka and F. Dintilhac, acting as Agents)

Other parties to the proceedings: Total SA, ELF Aquitaine SA

Form of order sought

The appellant claims that the Court should:

set aside the contested judgment of the General Court of 29 April 2015 in Case T-470/11;

declare the action brought before the General Court to be inadmissible;

order the respondents in the appeal to pay all of the costs pertaining to the present proceedings and to the proceedings at first instance.

Grounds of appeal and main arguments

In support of its appeal, the Commission puts forward the following three grounds.

According to the first and second grounds of appeal, the judgment under appeal wrongly rejects the Commission’s submission that the action is inadmissible. In the context of the first ground of appeal, the Commission argues that the General Court erred in law in taking the view that the letters of 24 June and 8 July 2011 from the Commission’s accountant produced binding legal effects. The accountant’s letters, it submits, are in fact mere requests for payment in implementation of the Methacrylates decision and pave the way for the potential enforcement of that decision following the judgment of the General Court in Case T-217/06 (1), which reduced the amount of the fine imposed on Arkema, whereas the judgment delivered on the same day in Case T-206/06 (2) (subsequently upheld by the order of the Court of Justice in Case C-421/11 P (3)) upheld the fines imposed on the present respondents. The accountant’s letters are not yet an enforcement measure and therefore do not set out a ‘final position’ of the Commission. Moreover, the accountant’s letters do not produce binding legal effects distinct from those of the Methacrylates decision, which decision is no longer amenable to challenge following the exhaustion of the respondents’ remedies. The second ground of appeal alleges that the judgment under appeal fails to respect the principles of lis pendens and res judicata, resulting from the order of the Court of Justice in Case C-421/11 P.

Lastly, the third ground of appeal, which concerns contradictory reasoning, is presented in the alternative, should the Court reject the first and second grounds. The General Court, it is submitted, incorrectly found in paragraph 113 that the rights of the Commission in relation to both Arkema and the defendants which were jointly and severally liable for payment had been fully satisfied, even though the General Court had correctly noted in paragraph 9 that Arkema regretted not being able to authorise the Commission to withhold a sum of any amount in the event that its action before the EU Courts was successful. That contradictory reasoning, the Commission argues, affects the reasoning of the General Court on the merits of the case and constitutes a sufficient ground for setting aside the judgment under appeal.

(1)  ECLI:EU:T:2011:251.

(2)  ECLI:EU:T:2011:250.

(3)  ECLI:EU:C:2012:60.