The General Court of the European Union (EU) has reportedly dismissed a challenge brought by Arcelor, the world’s largest steel producer, to the EU’s Emissions Trading Directive. The company sought both an annulment of certain articles of the directive as well as damages for harm allegedly resulting from its adoption. The company argued that the directive violated several community law principles, including the right of property, the freedom to pursue economic activity, equal treatment, freedom of establishment, and legal certainty.
The court rejected the claim that the directive led to unequal treatment of operators, noting that it applies to all covered operators. Regarding Arcelor’s claim for damages, the court held that the company had failed to prove the breach of any principles alleged.
Under the EU emissions trading scheme, member states set thresholds on the quantity of emissions produced each year and allocate allowances to national producers. The scheme was adjusted in 2003 to encourage operators to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, by allowing them to sell their surplus allowances to other operators. Arcelor may appeal the decision to the Court of Justice. See General Court of the European Union Press Release, March 2, 2010.