June 23, 2021

CJEU gives Venezuela her day in court, allows sanctions challenge to go forward

On June 22, 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that Venezuela has standing to challenge European Union sanctions in the General Court of the European Union, and remanded the case to the General Court for decision on the merits.

In February 2018, after the European Union imposed measures prohibiting the sale or supply of military equipment to Venezuela, as well as the use of financial and technical services to support the supply of such equipment, Venezuela brought an action for annulment of the restrictive measures.  The General Court dismissed the action on September 20, 2019, ruling that the provisions that Venezuela sought to annul did not directly affect the legal situation in Venezuela, and the action was therefore inadmissible.

In its June 22, 2021 ruling, the CJEU held that the General Court erred in its conclusion that the restrictive measures did not directly affect the legal situation in Venezuela:  the measures prevent Venezuela from obtaining goods and services, and therefore directly affect the legal situation in that country.  The court held, further, that Venezuela has an interest in bringing the proceedings, and that it has standing as a legal person within the meaning of the fourth paragraph of Article 263 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which provides the legal basis for a proceeding to annul an act carried out by an institution of the European Union.

CJEU Press Release