T-526/10 Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami v Commission [2013]

T-526/10 Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Others v European Commission [2013] centres on Regulation 1007/2009, which establishes standardised rules for the sale of seal products. This regulation imposes restrictions on seal products resulting from traditional hunts conducted by Inuit and other indigenous communities, provided these hunts contribute to their subsistence.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and others sought an interim suspension of the regulation, arguing that it had adverse effects on their communities, both economically and culturally. Their contention was that the regulation posed significant challenges to traditional practices and had far-reaching consequences.

The court rejected the application for an interim suspension, citing a lack of urgency. This decision implied that the court did not find immediate and irreparable harm that would warrant the suspension of the regulation pending a more comprehensive legal review.

The court acknowledged the substantial impact of the regulation on the seal product market. Despite this, it noted that the regulation aligns with the logic of Article 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which pertains to the establishment and functioning of the internal market.

Furthermore, the court suggested that the measure, while closing a significant portion of the seal product market, is consistent with Article 114. This is because the article allows for the regulation of products for safety reasons to ensure the free movement of safe products within the internal market.

The decisive factors in justifying the regulation were identified as concerns related to animal welfare and the preservation of Inuit culture. The court pointed out that this dual objective is compatible with Article 114, emphasising that as long as it contributes to the functioning of the internal market, such a combination is permissible under EU law.

Additionally, the court recognised that, despite the measure potentially closing down a substantial part of the market to address a smaller portion, once the EU has competence in the matter, there is a limited chance that a measure would be deemed disproportionate.

The rejection of the application for an interim suspension signifies the court's stance on the urgency of the matter. This case underscores the regulation's alignment with EU internal market laws and highlights the intricate balance required when considering market regulation alongside cultural preservation and animal welfare objectives.
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