This case was a request for a preliminary ruling on two 2009 amendments to the agricultural rules in the Council Regulation that establish economic support schemes for farmers. The support scheme provided direct income support to farmers, however it was amended such that all direct payments beyond a certain amount should be reduced by a certain percentage each year. The savings made through these reductions would then be used to finance measures under the rural development policy, in light of the “new and demanding challenges” faced by the agriculture sector, “such as climate change and the increasing importance of bio-energy, as well as the need for better water management and more effective protection of biodiversity.” The Preamble also noted that Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, the EU and its member states are called upon to “adapt its policies in the light of climate change considerations.”
The Court reviewed two issues: (1) whether a new provision to the Regulation to reduce the amount of direct payments to farmers was valid, against an existing provision that already set the amount, in light of the principle of protecting legitimate expectations; (2) and whether a four percent increase for farmers with larger holdings exceeding 300,000 euros violates the principle of non-discrimination. The Court ruled that the purpose of the earlier provision was to establish support schemes for farmers, and that the decreases in direct payments, as well as the percentage of reductions were valid, and did not violate any applicable principles of EU law.
|03/14/2013||Judgment||Download||No summary available.|