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Key facts of the case:
  1. Through the appeals brought in these two cases, which this Opinion will address together, the Court is called upon to consider a quite unusual situation. Two actions for annulment brought by the same applicants against one and the same ‘decision’ of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), identifying a substance, in this case acrylamide, as a substance of very high concern, led to the adoption by the General Court of the European Union of two orders of inadmissibility, namely the orders of 21 September 2011 in Case T‑1/10 PPG and SNF v ECHA (‘the order under appeal in Case T‑1/10’) and Case T‑268/10 PPG and SNF v ECHA (‘the order under appeal in Case T‑268/10’) (together called ‘the orders under appeal’) the former dismissing one of the actions as premature and the latter dismissing the other action as out of time.
  2. By two separate appeals, the applicants in the two proceedings before the General Court are requesting the Court of Justice, claiming inter alia infringement of their right to effective judicial protection, to set aside those orders, since they consider that both the finding that the first action was premature and the finding that the second action was out of time are vitiated by errors of law. 
  3. The relevant legislation in these two cases, namely Article 59(10) of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006, (2) provides, in the circumstances of the present case, that the ECHA decision at issue is to be published on the ECHA website. 
  4. The Court will therefore require to examine, first of all and for the first time, one of the decision-making processes established by the provisions of Regulation No 1907/2006, in order to determine whether the acts adopted in the course of that process constitute acts which may be challenged, for the purposes of Article 263 TFEU, by the economic operators concerned. It will then have to consider whether Article 263 TFEU precludes, as the General Court held in Case T‑1/10, an applicant bringing an action for the annulment of an act adopted at the end of that decision-making process and published on the Internet, as soon as he is aware of that act and therefore even before it has been published in accordance with the measures laid down by Regulation No 1907/2006. 
  5. In addition, the Court will be requested to rule, also for the first time, on the methods of computing time-limits for bringing proceedings against acts published exclusively on the Internet or, more accurately, which it is envisaged will not be actually published but publicised only on the Internet. It must, more specifically, reply to the question whether Article 102(1) of the Rules of Procedure of the General Court, which provides that the period of time allowed for commencing proceedings against acts published in the Official Journal of the European Union does not begin to run until the 14th day after that publication, applies to the publication of acts on the Internet. 
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
 
I therefore propose that the Court should: 
 
In Case C‑625/11 P:
  1. Set aside the Order of the General Court of the European Union of 21 September 2011 in PPG and SNF v European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) (T‑268/10);
  2. Refer the case back to the General Court of the European Union; 
  3. Reserve the costs.
In Case C‑626/11 P:
  1. Set aside the Order of the General Court of the European Union of 21 September 2011 in PPG and SNF v European Chemicals Agency Agence (ECHA) (T‑1/10);
  2. Refer the case back to the General Court of the European Union;
  3. Reserve the costs.