European Court of Justice ruling clarifies European frameworks for plant protection products

On 25 April 2024, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) published its ruling on several questions about the correct interpretation of provisions in the European Plant Protection Products Regulation. The questions were raised by the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb) in three cases involving an NGO and the Board for the Authorisation of Plant Protection Products and Biocides, the Ctgb.

In essence, the questions concern the possibility of deviating from an assessment that was previously done by another Member State and the need to assess the risk of endocrine disruption not only for applications for active substances, but also applications for product authorisation. The ECJ ruling appears to give national competent authorities more leeway to deviate from the assessment made by another EU Member State. The ECJ also ruled that national competent authorities, when assessing a product, must consider the potentially endocrine-disrupting characteristics of the active substance in that product. In addition, the court ruled that the competent authorities should also use the relevant and credible scientific and technical knowledge available at the time of the assessment. The Ctgb is now studying the complex ruling for a more precise clarification of its impact on product assessment.

The ECJ ruling helps competent authorities in the EU to interpret the requirements of the Plant Protection Products Regulation more effectively. This Regulation is voluminous and complex, and some provisions require additional explanation. As the ECJ ruling applies to all European competent authorities, further elaboration on the ECJ's conclusions should be done at EU level. The Ctgb will closely monitor and contribute to this process. The Ctgb also awaits the CBb's verdict in the three pending cases. An initial analysis has shown that the ECJ's interpretation is expected to create even more work for national competent authorities that assess plant protection products.

The ECJ ruling can be read here:

CURIA - Documents (

CURIA - Documents (