CJEU - T‐720/14 / Judgment Arkady Romanovich Rotenberg v. Council of the European Union

Key facts of the case:

(Common foreign and security policy — Restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening Ukraine — Freezing of funds — Restrictions on admission to the territories of the Member States — Natural person actively supporting or implementing actions undermining or threatening Ukraine — Natural person benefiting from Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea — Rights of defence — Obligation to state reasons — Manifest errors of assessment — Right to property — Freedom to conduct a business — Right to respect for private life — Proportionality)

Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:

On those grounds, THE GENERAL COURT (Ninth Chamber), hereby:

  1.  Annuls Council Decision 2014/145/CFSP of 17 March 2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, as amended by Council Decision 2014/508/CFSP of 30 July 2014, and Council Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 of 17 March 2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, as implemented by Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 826/2014 of 30 July 2014, in so far as they concern Mr Arkady Romanovich Rotenberg;
  2. Dismisses the action as to the remainder;
  3. Orders each party to bear its own costs.
Paragraphs referring to EU Charter (original language): 
  1. It should be borne in mind that the fundamental right to observance of the rights of the defence during a procedure preceding the adoption of a restrictive measure is expressly affirmed in Article 41(2)(a) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which is recognised by Article 6(1) TEU as having the same legal value as the Treaties (see judgment of 5 November 2014, Mayaleh v Council, T‑307/12 and T‑408/13, EU:T:2014:926, paragraph 102 and the case-law cited).
  2. It must also be noted that, according to settled case-law, the principle of effective judicial protection is a general principle of EU law stemming from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States, which has been enshrined in Articles 6 and 13 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms signed in Rome on 4 November 1950, this principle having, moreover, been reaffirmed by Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights (see judgment of 5 November 2014, Mayaleh v Council, T‑307/12 and T‑408/13, EU:T:2014:926, paragraph 103 and the case-law cited).
  1. It should be borne in mind that the right to property is among the general principles of EU law and is enshrined in Article 17 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The right to respect for private life is recognised by Article 7 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Similarly, the freedom to conduct a business is enshrined in Article 16 of the Charter.
  1. It should be noted in that regard that, according to Article 52(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, ‘any limitation on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognised by [the] Charter [of Fundamental Rights] must be provided for by law and respect the essence of those rights and freedoms’, and, moreover, ‘subject to the principle of proportionality, limitations may be made only if they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognised by the [European] Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others’.
  1. Consequently, in order to comply with EU law, a limitation on the exercise of the fundamental rights at issue must satisfy three conditions (judgment of 27 February 2014, Ezz and Others v Council, T‑256/11, EU:T:2014:93, paragraph 197).
  2. First, the limitation must be provided for by law. In other words, the measure in question must have a legal basis (see, to that effect and by analogy, judgment of 27 February 2014, Ezz and Others v Council, T‑256/11, EU:T:2014:93, paragraph 198 and the case-law cited).
  3. Secondly, the limitation must refer to an objective of general interest, recognised as such by the European Union (judgment of 27 February 2014, Ezz and Others v Council, T‑256/11, EU:T:2014:93, paragraph 199).
  4. Thirdly, the limitation may not be excessive. It must be necessary and proportional to the aim sought, and the ‘essential content’, that is, the substance, of the right or freedom at issue must not be impaired (see, to that effect and by analogy, judgment of 27 February 2014, Ezz and Others v Council, T‑256/11, EU:T:2014:93, paragraph 200 and the case-law cited).
Language: 
English
Deciding body (original language): 
The General Court (Ninth Chamber)
Language: 
English