Thursday, June 11, 2009

This Week in Luxembourg

- In the ongoing dispute about whether Competition fines should be tax deductible under Dutch law, the ECJ ruled that the Commission has the competence to submit written observations to the national court on its own initiative, under art. 15(3)(1), third sentence of Regulation 1/2003. (" Where the coherent application of Article 81 or Article 82 of the Treaty so requires, the Commission, acting on its own initiative, may submit written observations to courts of the Member States.") Inspecteur van de Belastingdienst v X BV.

- On June 9, the Court applied some common sense to the case about the (absence of a) tender for waste collection in the area around Hamburg. Four municipalities made a contract with the Stadtreinigung Hamburg without conducting a formal tender. AG Mazak concluded that this violated the Court's case law on when tender procedures have to be conducted, since these municipalities did not grant the contract to an organisation that they themselves controlled. The Court now disagrees.

- Today, in a German case about tender procedure run by a Krankenkasse, the Court ruled that the mere fact that such bodies are included in the annex to Directive 2004/18 is not enough to prove that they are governed by public law. The Courts have an independent duty to verify this given the facts of the case. (A Krankenkasse is, indeed, governed by public law.) The rest of the case concerns the question whether a mixed contract should be treated as a contract for goods or a contract for services. Hans & Christophorus Oymanns.

- Dutch tax authorities are allowed to enact a longer recovery period for wealth hidden abroad rather than in the Netherlands. X v Staatssecretaris van Financiƫn. They may not, however, discriminate against Iceland and Norway in their treatment of dividends paid to foreign companies. Commission v. Netherlands.

- The CFI applied the Kadi precedent to the case of Omar Mohammed Othman, currently being detained awaiting deportation in the UK. He'll have to wait for the ECHR to rule on his deportation, but at least he can have his bank accounts back.

- The CFI also applied Plaumann and Sardegna Lines in a series of Italian sectoral state aid cases, all of which were either inadmissible or unfounded. ASM Brescia v Commission, ACEA v Commission, Italy v Commission, Acegas-APS v Commission, etc, etc, etc.

- On June 9, the CFI ruled that a competitor cannot force the Commission to investigate existing state aid. A letter from the Commission notifying the complainant that it would not investigate further is not a decision in the sense of art. 230 EC, since no Commission decision could be said to exist. The case law on significant difficulties only applies to new aid. NDSHT v Commission.

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