Language of document :

Action brought on 16 March 2020 — Czech Republic v Commission

(Case T-151/20)

Language of the case: Czech

Parties

Applicant: Czech Republic (represented by: M. Smolek, J. Vláčil and O. Serdula, Agents)

Defendant: European Union, represented by the European Commission

Form of order sought

The applicant claims that the Court should:

order the European Union, represented by the European Commission, to restore to the Czech Republic the sum of CZK 40 482 255 on the basis of unjust enrichment, that sum having been paid, conditionally, into the Commission’s account on 17 March 2015 for no legal reason;

order the European Union, represented by the European Commission, to restore to the Czech Republic the sum of CZK 2 698 817 on the basis of unjust enrichment, that sum having been paid, conditionally, into the Commission’s account on 22 December 2016 for no legal reason;

order the European Union, represented by the Commission, to pay the costs.

Pleas in law and main arguments

In support of the action, the applicant relies on a single plea in law.

The applicant claims that the amount in dispute corresponds to unrecovered customs duty on the import of flint lighters from Laos amounting to CZK 53 976 340 minus collection costs. On 17 March 2015, the sum of CZK 40 482 255 (75% of the unrecovered customs duty) was conditionally paid into the Commission’s account, following the Commission’s formal notice dated 21 January 2015. On 22 December 2016, the sum of CZK 2 698 817 (5% of the unrecovered customs duty) was paid into the Commission’s account, following the Commission’s request for payment of the difference corresponding to the increase in the contribution paid to the Union to 80%.

There was no legal reason for the payment of that sum into the Commission’s account, since the customs duty concerned could not be collected for reasons which cannot be attributed to the Czech Republic. Under Article 17(2)(b) of Regulation No 1150/2000 of 22 May 2000 1 the Czech Republic was therefore released from the obligation to place the disputed sum at the Commission’s disposal.

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1 Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1150/2000 of 22 May2000 implementing Decision 94/728/EC, Euratom on the system of the Communities’ own resources (OJ 2000 L 130, p. 1).