Article 41 - Right to good administration
Key facts of the case:
Dumping — Imports of hot-rolled flat products of iron, non-alloy or other alloy steel originating in Brazil, Iran, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine — Termination of the proceedings against imports originating in Serbia — Determination of injury — Cumulative assessment of the effects of imports from more than one country — Article 3(4) of Regulation (EU) 2016/1036 — Termination without measures — Article 9(2) of Regulation 2016/1036 — Final disclosure of the essential facts and considerations on the basis of which it is intended to recommend the imposition of definitive measures or the termination of an investigation or proceedings without the imposition of measures — Article 20(2) of Regulation 2016/1036.
Outcome of the case:
THE GENERAL COURT (Eighth Chamber) hereby:
34) The applicant relies on three pleas in law in support of its action. The first plea in law alleges that the Commission made a manifest error of assessment and an error of law in deciding not to subject Serbian imports to cumulative assessment in accordance with Article 3(4) of the basic Regulation. The second plea in law alleges that the Commission made a manifest error of assessment and an error of law in finding that protective measures against the Republic of Serbia were ‘unnecessary’, even in the absence of cumulative assessment. The third plea in law alleges that in refusing to disclose data on undercutting and underselling in relation to the Serbian exporter, the Commission infringed: (i) Article 20(2) of that regulation; (ii) the applicant’s right to disclosure and its rights of defence; and (iii) the right to sound administration enshrined in Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
143) As regards the alleged failure to have regard to the principle of good administration, it follows from settled case-law that the Commission is required during an administrative procedure in the matter of defence against dumped imports from non-EU countries to respect the fundamental rights of the European Union, which include the right to sound administration enshrined in Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. According to the case-law relating to the principle of sound administration, where the EU institutions have a discretion, respect for the safeguards established by the EU legal order in administrative procedures is of even more fundamental importance. Those safeguards include, in particular, the duty of the competent institution to examine carefully and impartially all the relevant aspects of the individual case (see, to that effect, judgment of 25 January 2017, Rusal Armenal v Council, T‑512/09 RENV, EU:T:2017:26, paragraph 189 and the case-law cited).