Has the action for failure to act in the European Union lost its purpose?

This article analyzes the purpose of the action for failure to act under article 265 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The statements are derived from the analysis of scientific literature, relevant legislation, practice of the European Union Court of Justice (CJEU) and the European Union General Court (EUGC). Useful information has also been obtained from the opinions of general advocates of the CJEU. The article of TFEU 265, which governs the action for failure to act, is very abstract. For this reason, a whole procedure under the article 265 TFEU was developed by the EU courts. The original purpose of the action for failure to act was to constitute whether European Union (EU) institution properly fulfilled its obligations under the EU legislation. However, in the course of case-law, a mere EU institution’s express refusal to fulfill its duties became sufficient to constitute that the EU institution acted and therefore action for failure to act became devoid of purpose. This article analyzes whether the action for failure to act has lost its purpose and become an ineffective legal remedy in the system of judicial review in the EU. Additionally, the action for failure to act is compared to similar national actions.

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