Communication: new case No. 0700 of 2013

General Court
Communication: new case




Official Journal of the European Union

C 52/45

Action brought on 30 December 2013 — Bankia v Commission

(Case T-700/13)

2014/C 52/87

Language of the case: Spanish


Applicant: Bankia, SA (Valencia, Spain) (represented by: J.L. Buendía Sierra, E. Abad Valdenebro, R. Calvo Salinero, A. Lamadrid de Pablo and A. Biondi, lawyers)

Defendant: European Commission

Form of order sought

The applicant claims that the General Court should:

annul the contested decision in so far as it categorises the measures which, according to that decision, together constitute the ‘Spanish Tax Lease System’ (‘STLS’) as new State aid that is incompatible with the internal market;

in the alternative, annul Articles 1 and 4 of the contested decision, which identify the investors in the Economic Interest Groupings (EIGs) as the beneficiaries of the alleged aid and as the sole addressees of the order for recovery;

in the alternative, annul Article 4 of the contested decision, in so far as it orders recovery of the alleged aid in breach of general principles of EU law;

annul Article 4 of the contested decision, in so far as it makes a determination as to the lawfulness of private contracts between the investors and other entities; and

order the Commission to pay the costs of these proceedings.

Pleas in law and main arguments

The decision contested in the present proceedings is the same as that contested in Case T-515/13 Spain v Commission (OJ 2013 C 336, p. 29).

In support of its action, the applicant relies on five pleas in law.


First plea in law

The applicant claims that the contested decision infringes Article 107 TFEU in categorising as State aid the STLS and the individual measures of which it is composed. The applicant submits that the Commission erred in assessing as a whole, and in imputing to the Kingdom of Spain, a number of independent autonomous public and private measures. In addition, the applicant denies that the measures in question are liable to confer a selective economic advantage on the alleged beneficiaries, as well as the possibility that they may distort competition between those beneficiaries and other entities, and their supposed effect on trade between Member States.


Second plea in law

Secondly, the applicant submits that the Commission made a manifest error of law and infringed Articles 107 TFEU and 108 TFEU in categorising the application of the Spanish tonnage tax regime in certain cases as new aid rather than as existing aid. Given that, in 2002, the Commission approved the tonnage tax regime notified by Spain, if the Commission had wished to call in question the application of that regime, it ought, in any event, to have done so in accordance with the procedure applicable to existing aid. The applicant maintains that the arguments set out in the decision to make the case for the existence of new aid are manifestly unfounded.


Third plea in law

Thirdly, the applicant alleges, in the alternative, infringement of Articles 107 TFEU and 296 TFEU, inasmuch as the Commission erred in regarding entities such as the applicant (investors in EIGs which carried out operations covered by the decision) as the ultimate and only beneficiaries of the measures at issue, and in any event failed to state adequate reasons for such a view.


Fourth plea in law

Fourthly, the applicant alleges, also in the alternative, that the order for recovery under Article 4 of the contested decision is in breach of the general principle of legal certainty inasmuch as it places, unjustifiably, a temporal limit on the application of that principle.


Fifth plea in law

Fifthly, the applicant sets out the reasons why, in its submission, in making a determination as to the validity of clauses in private contracts entered into under Spanish law between the investors and other private entities, the contested decision is also in breach of the principle of conferral of powers and of Articles 107 TFEU and 108 TFEU, Article 14 of Council Regulation (EC) No 659/1999 and Article 16 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.


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