Key facts of the case:
Appeal — Regulation (EC) No 737/2010 — Regulation laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1007/2009 — Trade in seal products — Restrictions on the import and marketing of those products — Validity — Legal basis — Article 95 EC — Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union — Article 17 — United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — Article 19.
Outcome of the case:
...the Court (Fifth Chamber) hereby:
45. Whilst, as Article 6(3) TEU confirms, fundamental rights recognised by the ECHR constitute general principles of the European Union’s law and whilst Article 52(3) of the Charter provides that the rights contained in the Charter which correspond to rights guaranteed by the ECHR are to have the same meaning and scope as those laid down by the ECHR, the latter does not constitute, as long as the European Union has not acceded to it, a legal instrument which has been formally incorporated into EU law (see, to this effect, judgments in Åkerberg Fransson, C‑617/10, EU:C:2013:105, paragraph 44; Schindler Holding and Others v Commission, C‑501/11 P, EU:C:2013:522, paragraph 32; and Telefónica and Telefónica de España v Commission, C‑295/12 P, EU:C:2014:2062, paragraph 41).
46) Thus, the General Court was correct in holding, in paragraph 105 of the judgment under appeal, that Articles 17, 7, 10 and 11 of the Charter secure in EU law the protection conferred by the provisions of the ECHR relied on by the appellants and that it is appropriate, in this instance, to base the examination of the validity of the basic regulation solely on the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Charter (see, to this effect, judgments in Otis and Others, C‑199/11, EU:C:2012:684, paragraph 47, and Ziegler v Commission, C‑439/11 P, EU:C:2013:513, paragraph 126 and the case-law cited)
60) It should be pointed out that the protection of the right to property afforded by Article 17 of the Charter does not apply to mere commercial interests or opportunities, the uncertainties of which are part of the very essence of economic activity, but applies to rights with an asset value creating, under the legal system, an established legal position enabling the holder to exercise those rights autonomously and for his benefit (see judgment in Sky Österreich, C‑283/11, EU:C:2013:28, paragraph 34 and the case-law cited)
61) Likewise, it is apparent from the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights relating to Article 1 of Protocol No 1 to the ECHR, which should be taken into consideration in accordance with Article 52(3) of the Charter, that future income cannot be considered to constitute ‘possessions’ that may enjoy the protection of that article unless it has already been earned, it is definitely payable or there are specific circumstances that can cause the person concerned to entertain a legitimate expectation of obtaining an asset (see, in particular, European Court of Human Rights, Anheuser-Busch Inc. v. Portugal [GC], no. 73049/01, §§ 64 and 65, ECHR 2007-I, and Malik v. the United Kingdom, § 93).