Article 17 - Right to property
Article 52 - Scope and interpretation
Key facts of the case:
Reference for a preliminary ruling — Internal market for electricity — Directive 2009/72/EC — Transmission of electricity — Concept of ‘transmission system operator’ — Regulation (EC) No 714/2009 — Interconnector — Transmission line connecting the national transmission systems of the Member States — Article 16(6) — Scope — Use of revenues resulting from the allocation of interconnection capacity — Undertaking which merely operates a cross-border high-voltage power line connecting two national transmission networks.
Outcome of the case:
In the light of the foregoing, I propose that the Court give the following reply to the questions referred by the Förvaltningsrätten i Linköping (Administrative Court, Linköping, Sweden):
95) Second, I consider that Article 16(6) of Regulation No 714/2009 is consistent with the right to property, as enshrined in Article 17(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’).
96) I should note that the right to property guaranteed by Article 17(1) of the Charter is not absolute. As is apparent from Article 52(1) of the Charter, limitations may be imposed on the exercise of the rights recognised by the Charter, as long as the limitations are provided for by law, respect the essence of those rights and, subject to the principle of proportionality, are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognised by the European Union or the need to protect the rights or freedoms of others. ( 49 )
97) The restriction on the use of the revenues resulting from the allocation of interconnection must be regarded as provided for by law within the meaning of Article 52(1) of the Charter, since it stems from Article 16(6) of Regulation No 714/2009. ( 50 ) Moreover, as the Council submits, that provision does not preclude recovery of the costs incurred for the operation and maintenance of an interconnector. It does not preclude making a reasonable profit. Therefore, it respects the essence of the right to property. Furthermore, it follows from points 93 and 94 above that Article 16(6) of Regulation No 714/2009 pursues an objective of general interest, namely the development of cross-border exchanges in electricity, and that it is necessary.