Key facts of the case:
- This reference for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of Articles 282 EC, 335 TFEU and 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’) and of Articles 103 and 104 of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 of 25 June 2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities (OJ 2002 L 248, p. 1), as amended by Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1995/2006 of 13 December 2006 (OJ 2006 L 390, p. 1; ‘the Financial Regulation’).
- The reference has been made in proceedings between (i) the Europese Gemeenschap (European Community), represented by the European Commission, and (ii) Otis NV, Kone Belgium NV, Schindler NV, ThyssenKrupp Liften Ascenseurs NV, General Technic-Otis Sàrl, Kone Luxembourg Sàrl, Schindler Sàrl and ThyssenKrupp Ascenseurs Luxembourg Sàrl, manufacturers of elevators and escalators, concerning an action for damages in respect of loss sustained as a result of an infringement by those companies of Article 81 EC.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
- European Union law must be interpreted as meaning that, in circumstances such as those at issue in the main proceedings, the European Commission is not precluded from representing the European Union before a national court hearing a civil action for damages in respect of loss caused to the European Union by an agreement or practice prohibited by Articles 81 EC and 101 TFEU which may have affected certain public contracts awarded by various institutions and bodies of the European Union, there being no need for the Commission to have authorisation for that purpose from those institutions and bodies.
- Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union does not preclude the European Commission from bringing an action before a national court, on behalf of the European Union, for damages in respect of loss sustained by the Union as a result of an agreement or practice which has been found by a decision of the Commission to infringe Article 81 EC or Article 101 TFEU.