Official Journal of the European Union

C 285/18

Action brought on 30 July 2008 — Commission of the European Communities v French Republic

(Case C-354/08)

(2008/C 285/31)

Language of the case: French


Applicant: Commission of the European Communities (represented by: E. Traversa and J. Sénéchal, Agents)

Defendant: French Republic

Form of order sought

declare that, by providing for priority to the outgoing licensee in the course of putting out to competitive tender licences in respect of works using hydraulic energy, in particular by adopting the provisions of Article 29(3) of decree No 99/225 of 22 March 1999 relating to the licence and the declaration of public use of works using hydraulic energy, the French Republic has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 43 EC;

order the French Republic to pay the costs.

Pleas in law and main arguments

The Commission claims that granting priority to the outgoing licensee, upon renewal and granting of licences in respect of works using hydraulic energy, infringes the principle of non-discrimination and hinders freedom of establishment. By favouring companies which have a licence and which are therefore established in France, French legislation makes the establishment of companies set up in other Member States more difficult.

Moreover, the French authorities did not rely on the derogations provided for in Articles 45 and 46 of the Treaty or overriding reasons in the public interest in order to justify the measure in question which was, in any event, disproportionate in the light of the objective pursued. Accordingly, financial charges borne by the outgoing licensee may, for example, be offset by other obligations imposed on all new competitors.