annuls votes of European Parliament concerning Parliament’s calendar of periods
of part-sessions for 2012 and 2013, on the ground that those periods, split
into two parts by the Parliament, cannot be regarded individually as periods
of monthly plenary part-sessions.
France brought an action before the Court of Justice seeking annulment of those two votes of the Parliament. Supported by Luxembourg, it submitted that those votes infringed the Treaties and the case-law of the Court. It alleged, inter alia, that the Parliament had broken the regularity of the rhythm of the periods of plenary part-sessions by scheduling additional part-sessions in Brussels when only 11 periods of plenary part-sessions were scheduled for Strasbourg.
The Court first of all referred to the judgment in Joined Cases 358/85 and 51/86 France v Parliament . The Court held that even though that judgment concerned the interpretation of the Edinburgh Decision, that decision had been incorporated without amendment into the protocols concerning the seats of the institutions. In addition, not only did the parties agree on the relevance of that judgment for the present cases, but they also relied on it to support their divergent points of view.
The Court held that the judgment in France v Parliament is based on considerations regarding the relationship between, on the one hand, the competence of the Member States to determine the Parliament’s seat and, on the other, the Parliament’s power to determine its own internal organisation.
Thirdly, the Court found that that reading of the contested votes is borne out by the Parliament’s own practice, as is apparent from the agenda for the part‑sessions of 22 and 23 October and 25 and 26 October 2012.
The Court held that it could be seen from the agenda for those part‑sessions that the first took place on Monday 22 October from 17h00 to 23h00 and on Tuesday from 08h30 to 23h00, whereas the second took place on Thursday 25 October from 09h00 to 23h00 and on Friday 26 October from 09h00 to 13h30.
The Court held that it was clear from that comparison of the calendars that the contested votes objectively entailed a significant reduction in the time available to the Parliament for its debates or deliberations in October 2012 and October 2013. As compared with the ordinary plenary part‑sessions, the actual time available for the part‑sessions during October was reduced by more than half.
The Court furthermore held that it was apparent from the judgment in France v Parliament that the seat of the Parliament was the place where ‘12 ordinary plenary part‑sessions’ of that institution must take place on a regular basis, and that those 12 part‑sessions must be distinguished from the ‘additional plenary part-sessions’ which cannot be scheduled unless the Parliament actually holds the 12 ordinary plenary part-sessions.