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European Commission - Press release

Customs: Commission requests Italy to review its judicial practice on remission and repayment of duties

Brussels, 24 November 2011 - The European Commission has formally requested Italy to implement proper appeal procedures on requests for remission or reimbursement of customs duties.

Italy does not allow, in certain cases, a judicial review for negative decisions relating to requests for the remission or reimbursement of customs duty. According to Italian highest level of jurisprudence, given the specific circumstances of these decisions, they cannot be contested because they are supposedly of a political nature.

According to the EU's Customs Code (Article 239), businesses finding themselves in a special situation may request from the national customs administrations a remission or reimbursement of their customs debt. However, if businesses wish to challenge negative decisions by the Italian customs on such matters, Italy does not allow for judicial protection on all of these decisions.

Article 243 of the EU's Customs Code, as well as general principles of EU law, provide for a right of appeal of any decision issued by a national customs authority. The Commission believes that there is no exception to this right, and that businesses must be able to appeal all kind of decisions unfavourable to them. This is a cornerstone of the EU legal order. Therefore, the above mentioned practice puts Italy in breach of EU law.

The request to Italy takes the form of a reasoned opinion, the second step of the infringement proceeding. Should the Italian authorities fail to remedy the above described situation within two months; the Commission may refer Italy to the EU's Court of Justice.

For the press releases issued on infringement proceedings in the area of taxation or customs see:

For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/11/824

For the most up-to-date general information on the infringement proceedings initiated against Member States, see:

Contacts :

Emer Traynor (+32 2 292 15 48)

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