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26.8.2000

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Official Journal of the European Communities

C 247/13

The judgment of the Court of First Instance is also vitiated by errors of law and defective reasoning in relation to the concept

of a single and continuous agreement — the Cembureau agreement censured in Article 1 of the decision. The Republic of Finland has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 2 of the said Sixth VAT Directive 77/388/EEC, by maintaining in force legislation under which supplies of works

In the appellant’s submission, the contested judgment warrants

censure also in the part relating to the penalty, which or reduced by reason of the following considerations:

of art by artists or intermediaries and imports of works of art bought directly from artists are exempted from value added tax.

Pleas in law and main arguments

annulled

— erroneous assessment of the duration and seriousness of

the alleged infringements; Under the Sixth VAT Directive it is not possible to exempt supplies or imports of works of art from value added tax.

Nor is exemption permitted under point 2(n) of Part IX of Annex XV to the Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Finland and the Kingdom of Sweden and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the European Union is founded.

the rejection of the request for amendment of the fine;

— insufficient reasons for the judgment in relation to the reference turnover;

— misassessment of Cementir’s criticism concerning the limitation referred to in Article 2(1);

infringement of the principles of fairness and pro-

relation to the

portionality and defective reasoning in

assessment of the criteria for determining fines.

( 1 ) Sixth Council Directive 77/388/EEC of 17 May 1977 on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to turnover taxes — Common system of value added tax: uniform basis of assessment (OJ L 145 of 13.6.1977, p. 1).

( 1 ) OJ L 343, 30.12.1994, p. 1.

of 13.6.1977, p. 1). ( 1 ) OJ L 343, 30.12.1994, p. 1. Action brought on

Action brought on 8 May 2000 by the Commission of the European Communities against the Republic of Finland

(Case C-169/00)

Action brought on 9 May 2000 by the Republic of Finland against the Commission of the European Communities

(Case C-170/00)

(2000/C 247/16)

(2000/C 247/15)

An action against the Republic of Finland was brought before

May

2000 by the Commission of the European Communities,

represented by Esa Paasivirta and Enrico Traversa, of its

Service, acting as Agents, with an address for service in Luxembourg at the office of Carlos Go´ mez de la Cruz, Wagner Centre, Kirchberg.

Legal

the Court of Justice of the European Communities on 8

The Commission claims that the Court should:

An action against the Commission of the European Communi- ties was brought before the Court of Justice of the European Communities on 9 May 2000 by the Republic of Finland, represented by Tuula Pynnä, Valtionasiamies, Legislative Adviser in the Legal Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, acting as Agent, and Elisabeth Bygglin, Legislative Adviser in that ministry, with an address for service in Luxembourg at the Finnish Embassy, 2 Rue Heine.

Finland claims that the Court should:

Annul Commission Decision 2000/216/EC of 1 March 2000 excluding from Community financing certain expenditure incurred by the Member States under the Guarantee Sect on of the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF)( 1 ) in so far as it refuses to charge to the EAGGF the sum of FIM 7 270 885,76

of the Sixth VAT Directive( 1 ); included in Finland’s expenditure for the 1996 and 1997

Finland has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 2

are exempted from value added tax, the Republic

which supplies of works of art by artists or intermediaries and imports of works of art bought directly from artists

1. Declare that, by maintaining in force legislation

under

of

financial years of the EAGGF Guarantee Section with

C 247/14

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Official Journal of the European Communities

26.8.2000

— Order the Commission to pay the costs.

Pleas in law and main arguments

The Commission incorrectly applied Article 5(2)(c) of Regu- lation (EEC) No 729/70 of the Council of 21 April 1970 on the financing of the common agricultural policy( 2 ), as amended by Council Regulation (EC) No 1287/95 of 22 May 1995 amending Regulation (EEC) No 729/70 on the financing of the common agricultural policy( 3 ), read in conjunction with Article 8(1) of Commission Regulation (EC) No 1663/95 of 7 July 1995 laying down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EEC) No 729/70 regarding the procedure for clearance of the accounts of the EAGGF Guarantee Section( 4 ).

The Commission did not observe the proper

established by those regulations for reimbursement of funding,

the

expenditure which was incurred earlier than 24 months before

the relevant written notification from the Commission to Finland concerning the results of the checks done. The

Commission exceeded that time limit by the

Commission Decision 2000/216/EC with respect to

FIM 7 270 885,76 in the reimbursement of funding for the

the

written notice referred to in the above-mentioned provisions

only on 22 December 1998, but the reimbursement of funding relates, as regards the above-mentioned sum, to expenditure which was incurred earlier than 24 months before receipt of

December

1996). The documents sent by the Commission before the letter received on 22 December 1998 were so defective that

Finland was not able effectively to defend its rights and properly reply to the Commission’s views. In the telex sent on 20 May 1997, for example, there was no reference to Regu- lation No 1663/95, and the Commission’s letter dated 17 Sep- tember 1998, the Finnish text of which was received by Finland on 24 September 1998, lacked the annex referred to

in the letter.

that notification (that is, 16 October 1995 to 21

since it refused, contrary to the above provisions, to fund

procedure

above-mentioned

1996 and 1997 financial years, in that Finland received

The Commission also incorrectly stated in Decision

2000/216/EC that it did not concern expenditure incurred

months before the written notification of the

results of the checks.

earlier than 24

( 1 ) OJ 2000 L 67, p. 37. ( 2 ) OJ, English Special Edition 1970 (I), p. 218. ( 3 ) OJ 1995 L 125, p. 1. ( 4 ) OJ 1995 L 158, p. 6.

Action brought on 17 May 2000 by the Commission of the European Communities against the Republic of Finland

(Case C-185/00)

(2000/C 247/17)

An action against the Republic of Finland was brought before the Court of Justice of the European Communities on 17 May 2000 by the Commission of the European Communities, represented by Enrico Traversa, Legal Adviser, and Ilkka Koskinen, of its Legal Service, acting as Agents, with an address for service in Luxembourg at the office of Carlos Go´ mez de la Cruz, Wagner Centre, Kirchberg.

The Commission claims that the Court should:

1. Declare that the Republic of Finland has breached its obligations as a Member State by failing to fulfil its obligations under Article 8(2) and (3) of Council Directive 92/81/EEC of 19 October 1992 on the harmonisation of the structures of excise duties on mineral oils( 1 ) and Article 5(1) of Council Directive 92/82/EEC of 19 Octo- ber 1992 on the approximation of the rates of excise duties on mineral oils( ), by maintaining in force the laws and regulations concerning the use of light fuel oil as motor fuel.

2

In particular, it is said that Finland has not implemented the fiscal control referred to in Article 8 of Directive 92/81/EEC with respect to the distribution and use of light fuel oil. The possibility in Finland of lawfully using as motor fuel, by paying tax (motor vehicle tax and the price of the fuel), light fuel oil taxable as heating oil is regarded as contrary to Article 5 of Directive 92/82/EEC;

2. Order Finland to pay the costs.

Pleas in law and main arguments

Article 99 EC (formerly Article 93 of the EC Treaty) requires inter alia the harmonisation of legislation concerning excise duties and other indirect taxation to the extent that harmonis- ation is necessary to ensure the establishment and the func- tioning of the internal market. That provision of the Treaty is the legal basis both of Council Directive 92/81/EEC of 19 October 1992 on the harmonisation of the structures of excise duties on mineral oils and of Council Directive 92/82/EEC of 19 October 1992 on the approximation of the rates of excise duties on mineral oils.

In point 5(e) and (f) of Part IX of Annex XV to the Act of Accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden, ‘List provided for in Article 151 of the Act of Accession’, Finland is authorised to derogate from certain provisions and obligations in those directives. Those provisions of the Act of Accession do not,