Key facts of the case:
Appeal — Restrictive measures taken in view of the situation in Ukraine — Freezing of funds and economic resources — List of persons, entities and bodies covered by the freezing of funds and economic resources — Inclusion of the appellant’s name — Decision by an authority of a third State — Council’s obligation to verify that that decision was taken in accordance with the rights of the defence and the right to effective judicial protection.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Fourth Chamber) hereby:
Sets aside the judgment of the General Court of the European Union of 7 July 2017, Azarov v Council (T‑215/15, EU:T:2017:479);
14) The appellant relies on five grounds of appeal. By his first ground of appeal, he alleges that the General Court infringed Article 296 TFEU and Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’). By his second ground of appeal, which is divided into four parts, he claims that the General Court wrongly concluded that there was no infringement of his fundamental rights. By his third ground of appeal, he criticises the General Court for having held that there was no misuse of powers by the Council. The fourth ground of appeal alleges an infringement of Article 41 of the Charter. Finally, by his fifth ground of appeal, which is divided into six parts, the appellant submits that the General Court erred in finding that the Council had not made a manifest error of assessment in adopting the contested acts.
22) The effectiveness of the judicial review guaranteed by Article 47 of the Charter requires, as the General Court correctly pointed out in paragraph 136 of the judgment under appeal, that, as part of the review of the lawfulness of the grounds which are the basis of the decision to include or to maintain a person’s name on the lists of persons subject to restrictive measures, the Courts of the European Union are to ensure that that decision, which affects that person individually, is taken on a sufficiently solid factual basis. That entails a verification of the factual allegations in the summary of reasons underpinning that decision, with the consequence that judicial review cannot be restricted to an assessment of the cogency in the abstract of the reasons relied on, but must concern whether those reasons, or, at the very least, one of those reasons, deemed sufficient in itself to support that decision, are substantiated (judgments of 18 July 2013, Commission and Others v Kadi, C‑584/10 P, C‑593/10 P and C‑595/10 P, EU:C:2013:518, paragraph 119; of 18 June 2015, Ipatau v Council, C‑535/14 P, EU:C:2015:407, paragraph 42; and of 18 February 2016, Council v Bank Mellat, C‑176/13 P, EU:C:2016:96, paragraph 109).