PAN Europe et al v. Belgian State

249.843
January 21, 2019
Provisional judgment
Belgium, Brussels

Environmental NGOs
PAN Europe, Nature et Progrès Belgique, Benoît Dupret
Belgian State
Antoine Bailleux

Administrative
Summary proceedings
Insecticide, Neonicotinoid, Thiamethoxam, Clothianidin, Cruiser 600 FS, Poncho Beta
Cancellation of six decisions authorizing the use of insecticides based on "neonicotinoid" active substances banned in the European Union; suspension of the execution of these decisions.
Council of State, administrative litigation section of Brussels, Belgium
Court

February 16, 2021
Partially Positive
The Council of State decides to reopen the proceedings and refers five questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling.
National law

The applicants seek the cancellation of six decisions authorizing the use of insecticides based on neonicotinoid active substances banned in the European Union and the suspension of the execution of those decisions. On June 5, 2019, Judgment 244.702 rejects the request for suspension of the execution of the contested act and reserves the decision. On June 20, 2019, the applicants request the continuation of the proceedings. On February 16, 2021, the Council of State decides to reopen the proceedings and to ask the following questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union:
1/ Is Article 53 of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market and repealing Council Directives 79/117/EEC and 91/414/EEC to be interpreted as allowing a Member State to grant, under certain conditions, an authorisation relating to the treatment, sale or sowing of seeds treated with plant protection products?
2. If the answer to the first question is yes, can Article 53 apply, under certain conditions, to plant protection products containing active substances the marketing or use of which is restricted or prohibited in the territory of the European Union?
3/ Do the "special circumstances" required by Article 53 of the above-mentioned Regulation cover situations in which the occurrence of a danger is not certain but only plausible?
4/ Do the "special circumstances" required by article 53 of the above-mentioned regulation cover situations for which the occurrence of a danger is foreseeable, ordinary and even cyclical?
5/ Is the expression "which cannot be contained by other reasonable means" used in Article 53 of the Regulation to be interpreted as giving equal importance, in the light of the terms of recital 8 in the preamble to the Regulation, to ensuring a high level of protection of human and animal health and the environment, on the one hand, and to preserving the competitiveness of Community agriculture, on the other?