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Document 62014TN0585

Case T-585/14: Action brought on 4 August 2014  — Slovenia v Commission

OJ C 372, 20.10.2014, p. 19–20 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, HR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)



Official Journal of the European Union

C 372/19

Action brought on 4 August 2014 — Slovenia v Commission

(Case T-585/14)

2014/C 372/24

Language of the case: Slovenian


Applicant: Republic of Slovenia (represented by: L. Bembič, State Attorney)

Defendant: European Commission

Form of order sought

The applicant claims that the Court should:

annul the decision contained in the letter from the European Commission, Directorate-General for Budget, No. BUDG/B/03MV D (2014) 1782918, of 2 June 2014 in which, first, the applicant is declared to be financially responsible for the loss of traditional own resources for the EU budget, because sugar was imported outside the system of tariff import quotas and that the resources for that importation were not determined and in which, second, the applicant is ordered to make available to the EU budget an amount equivalent to the loss of traditional own resources amounting, in the event that the import licence was used to its fullest extent, to EUR 1 2 57  000;

order the Commission to pay the costs.

Pleas in law and main arguments

In support of its action, the applicant puts forward six pleas in law.


First plea: manifest error of assessment

The Commission wrongly found, in the contested decision contained in the letter, that the loss of traditional own resources is due to the mistakes made by the importer in its application for the issue of an import licence and that the Slovenian authorities did not discover those mistakes in time.

The importer did indeed complete and correct its application in time and the errors occurred, in fact, in the recording of the data when the Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for the Agricultural Market and Rural Development transmitted the applications for the issue of an import licence in the Commission’s AMIS-Quota application, which was entirely the result of serious defects in the AMIS-Quota system.


Second plea: breach of the rules concerning the Commission’s decision-making procedures

The letter containing the contested decision was signed by the Director of the Directorate General for Budget, even though it is the Commission, acting as a collegial body, which is competent to decide on the applicant’s financial responsibility for the loss of the EU’s traditional own resources.


Third plea: inadequate statement of reasons and incorrect legal basis

The Commission did not provide an adequate statement of reasons for the contested decision in respect of the applicant’s financial responsibility with the result that it is not possible to check if it is correct and consistent with substantive law, thereby breaching Article 296 TFEU and the Commission’s internal procedural rules.

The Commission, moreover, did not provide an adequate legal basis to justify its decision that there was, in this case, a loss of traditional own resources and that the applicant would be financially responsible for such a loss.


Fourth plea: infringement of the rights of defence and the right to be heard

The Commission did not inform the applicant, prior to the adoption of the contested decision, of all the elements of fact and law on which its decision is based, thereby infringing the principles of the rights of defence and the right to be heard.


Fifth plea: the Commission’s failure of inspection

The applicant’s error in the communication concerning the application for issue of an import licence is a consequence of defects in the AMIS-quota electronic information system, which the Commission created and manages; accordingly the applicant is not responsible for the error made.


Sixth plea: infringement of the principles of proportionality, legal certainty and the avoidance of unjust enrichment

The applicant contends that, in view of the fact that no loss of traditional own resources was proven, the imposition of financial responsibility for an error when encoding the data in the Commission’s defective computer system means that the EU will be unjustly enriched.

Moreover, the principle of legal certainty was infringed because there is no procedure for correcting mistakes for situations in which unjust enrichment may occur.

The applicant further argues that the legislation under which it is not possible to correct administrative errors committed in the context of a procedure for issuing import licences even though no market operator suffers a loss as a result of the error being corrected — and which results in the Member State becoming as a matter of course financially responsible — is also contrary to the principle of proportionality.

The Commission, by failing to bring to a close, within a reasonable period, the procedure for determining the applicant’s financial responsibility, also infringed the principle of legitimate expectations.