Judgment of the Court of 4 April 1990. - Hellenic Republic and Crete Citron Producers' Association v Commission of the European Communities. - Economic policy Balance of payments - Protective measures. - Joined cases C-111/88, C-112/88 and C-20/89.
European Court reports 1990 Page I-01559
Pub.RJ Page Pub somm
1 . Balance of payments - National protective measures - Authorization by the Commission - Conditions - Commission' s discretion - Judicial review - Limits
( EEC Treaty, Art . 108(3 ) )
2 . Balance of payments - National protective measures - Export aid - Authorization by the Commission - Subsequent restriction on the scope of the authorization - Procedural guarantees provided for by Decision 86/614 - Consultation with the interested parties - Right to be heard - Scope
( Commission Decision 86/614, Art . 3 )
1 . In the application of Article 108(3 ) of the Treaty the Commission has a wide discretion in determining whether the circumstances justify granting a Member State which is experiencing difficulties in its balance of payments authorization to adopt protective measures . In cases involving such discretion, the Court must restrict itself to considering whether the exercise of that discretion contains a manifest error or constitutes a misuse of power or whether the Commission clearly exceeded the bounds of its discretion ( see the judgment of 17 January 1985 in Case 11/82 Piraiki-Patraiki v Commission (( 1985 )) ECR 207 ).
2 . The "consultation with the interested parties" provided for under Article 3 of Commission Decision 86/614 which is to precede any decision limiting the scope of the authorization given to a Member State experiencing balance of payments difficulties to grant export aid is no more than an expression of the basic principle that every person has a right to be heard in all proceedings the outcome of which may adversely affect him . In the present case, that principle obliges the Commission to inform the Member State concerned of the complaint on the basis of which it proposes to withdraw its authorization for certain types of aid and to afford that Member State an opportunity to make known its views on the accuracy and relevance of the facts and circumstances alleged .
In Joined Cases C-111/88, C-112/88 and C-20/89
Hellenic Republic, represented by Spyros Zissimopoulos, Special Adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Katerina Samoni, Legal Assistant at the same Ministry, Photis Spathopoulos, an official in the Directorate for EEC Legal Questions at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ilias Laios, Legal Adviser at the Ministry of Agriculture, and Meletios Tsotsanis, an official of the Legal Affairs Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture, acting as Agents, with an address for service in Luxembourg at the Greek Embassy, 117 Val Sainte-Croix,
applicant in Case C-111/88,
Crete Citron Producers' Association, whose registered office is at Heraklion ( Crete ), represented by Georgios A . Vachaviolos, of the Athens Bar, with an address for service in Luxembourg at the premises of Maria Athanassiadis, 40 rue de l' Avenir,
applicant in Cases C-112/88 and C-20/89,
Commission of the European Communities, represented in Cases C-111/88 and C-112/88 by T . Christoforou and Georgios Kremlis, members of its Legal Department, and by its Legal Adviser T . F . Cusack, acting as Agents, and in Case C-20/89 by Georgios Kremlis and T . F . Cusack, assisted by Spyridon Karalis, Assessor at the Greek Council of State, on secondment to the Legal Department of the Commission, acting as Agents, with an address for service in Luxembourg at the office of Georgios Kremlis, Wagner Centre, Kirchberg,
two APPLICATIONS ( Cases C-111/88 and C-112/88 ) under Article 173 of the EEC Treaty for the annulment of Commission Decision 88/438/EEC of 4 February 1988 ( Official Journal 1988, L 218, p . 19 ) amending Decision 86/614/EEC of 16 December 1986 ( Official Journal 1986, L 357, p . 28 ), which itself amended Commission Decision 85/594/EEC authorizing Greece to take certain safeguard measures under Article 108(3 ) of the EEC Treaty ( Official Journal 1985, L 373, p . 9 ), and one application ( Case C-20/89 ) under Article 173 of the EEC Treaty for the annulment of Commission Decision 88/600/EEC of 22 November 1988 renewing and amending Decision 85/594/EEC ( Official Journal 1988, L 325, p . 58 ),
composed of : O . Due, President, Sir Gordon Slynn and C . N . Kakouris ( Presidents of Chambers ), G . F . Mancini, R . Joliet, T . F . O' Higgins and G . C . Rodríguez Iglesias, Judges,
( the grounds of the judgment are not reproduced )
( 1 ) Dismisses the applications;
( 2 ) Orders the applicants to pay the costs .