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Judgment of the Court of 17 November 1992.

Commission of the European Communities v Ireland.

Failure to fulfil obligations - Acceptance for breeding purposes of pure-bred breeding animals of the bovine species.

Case C-236/91.

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Judgment of 17 November 1992, Commission / Ireland (C-236/91, ECR 1992 p. I-5933) ECLI:EU:C:1992:444

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Commission of the European Communities v Ireland.

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Keywords

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Acts of the institutions ° Directives ° Implementation by the Member States ° Mere administrative practices insufficient

(EEC Treaty, Art. 189, third paragraph)

Summary

Mere administrative practices, which by their nature are alterable at will by the authorities and are not given the appropriate publicity, cannot be regarded as constituting proper fulfilment of the obligations of the Member States to which a directive is addressed under Article 189 of the Treaty.

Parties

In Case C-236/91,

Commission of the European Communities, represented by Christopher Docksey, of its Legal Service, acting as Agent, with an address for service in Luxembourg at the office of Roberto Hayder, of its Legal Service, Wagner Centre, Kirchberg,

applicant,

v

Ireland, represented by Louis J. Dockery, Chief State Solicitor, acting as Agent, with an address for service in Luxembourg at the Irish Embassy, 28 Route d' Arlon,

defendant,

APPLICATION for a declaration that by failing to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with Council Directive 87/328/EEC of 18 June 1987 on the acceptance for breeding purposes of pure-bred breeding animals of the bovine species (OJ 1987 L 167, p. 54), Ireland has failed to fulfil its obligations under that directive and in particular Article 6 thereof and under the EEC Treaty,

THE COURT,

composed of: O. Due, President, G.C. Rodríguez Iglesias and M. Zuleeg, (Presidents of Chambers), G.F. Mancini, R. Joliet, F.A. Schockweiler, J.C. Moitinho de Almeida, F. Grévisse and D.A.O. Edward, Judges,

Advocate General: M.C. Gulmann,

Registrar: H.A. Ruehl, Principal Administrator,

having regard to the report of the Judge-Rapporteur,

after hearing the Opinion of the Advocate General at the sitting on 14 October 1992,

gives the following

Judgment

Grounds

1 By application lodged at the Court Registry on 17 September 1991, the Commission of the European Communities brought an action before the Court under Article 169 of the EEC Treaty for a declaration that by failing to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with Council Directive 87/328/EEC of 18 June 1987 on the acceptance for breeding purposes of pure-bred breeding animals of the bovine species (OJ 1987 L 167, p. 54, hereinafter "the directive"), Ireland had failed to fulfil its obligations under the directive and in particular Article 6 thereof and under the EEC Treaty.

2 Article 6 of the directive provides that: "Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by 1 January 1989. They shall forthwith inform the Commission thereof".

3 The Commission contends that the mandatory character of directives required Ireland to adopt the legislative provisions necessary to transpose the directive into national law.

4 Ireland concedes that the legislative provisions necessary to give effect to the directive have still not been enacted. It maintains, however, that pending the adoption of the necessary legislation, the rules laid down by the directive are observed in practice.

5 Ireland' s argument cannot be accepted.

6 As the Court has consistently held in judgments concerning the implementation of directives, mere administrative practices, which by their nature are alterable at will by the authorities and are not given the appropriate publicity, cannot be regarded as constituting the proper fulfilment of a Member State' s obligations under the Treaty (judgment in Case 168/85 Commission v Italy [1986] ECR 2945, paragraph 13).

7 Consequently, Ireland, which does not dispute its obligation to adopt the legislative provisions necessary to transpose the directive into national law cannot, even temporarily, evade that obligation by relying on the application of an administrative practice alleged to be in accordance with the rules laid down by the directive.

8 It follows that the Commission is entitled to a declaration of infringement in the terms sought.

Decision on costs

Costs

9 Under Article 69(2) of the Rules of Procedure, the unsuccessful party is to be ordered to pay the costs. Since Ireland has failed in its submissions, it must be ordered to pay the costs.

Operative part

On those grounds,

THE COURT

hereby:

1. Declares that by failing to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with Council Directive 87/328/EEC of 18 June 1987 on the acceptance for breeding purposes of pure-bred breeding animals of the bovine species, Ireland has failed to fulfil its obligations under that directive and in particular Article 6 thereof and under the EEC Treaty;

2. Orders Ireland to pay the costs.

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