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Key facts of the case:
  1. This request for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of Article 6(1) and (3) TEU, Articles 49 TFEU and 54 TFEU, Articles 47 and 50 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’), Article 6(2) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, signed in Rome on 4 November 1950 (‘the ECHR’), Article 6 of First Council Directive 68/151/EEC of 9 March 1968 on coordination of safeguards which, for the protection of the interests of members and others, are required by Member States of companies within the meaning of the second paragraph of Article 58 of the Treaty (OJ, English Special Edition 1968 (I), p. 41; ‘the First Directive’), Article 60a of Fourth Council Directive 78/660/EEC of 25 July 1978 based on Article 54(3)(g) of the Treaty on the annual accounts of certain types of companies (OJ 1978 L 222, p. 11), as amended by Directive 2009/49/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 (OJ 2009 L 164, p. 42; ‘the Fourth Directive’), and Article 38(6) of Seventh Council Directive 83/349/EEC of 13 June 1983 based on Article 54(3)(g) of the Treaty on consolidated accounts (OJ 1983 L 193, p. 1; ‘the Seventh Directive’).
  2. The request has been made in proceedings initiated by Texdata Software GmbH (‘Texdata’), contesting the periodic penalties imposed on it by the Landesgericht Innsbruck (Regional Court, Innsbruck) for its breach of the obligation to submit its annual accounts to that court, which is responsible for maintaining the commercial register.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
The Court (Fourth Chamber) hereby rules:
Subject to the verifications to be carried out by the referring court, Articles 49 TFEU and 54 TFEU, the principles of effective judicial protection and respect for the rights of the defence, and Article 12 of Eleventh Council Directive 89/666/EEC of 21 December 1989 concerning disclosure requirements in respect of branches opened in a Member State by certain types of company governed by the law of another State are to be interpreted as not precluding national legislation, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, which provides that, where the statutory nine-month period for disclosing accounting documents is exceeded, a minimum periodic penalty of EUR 700 is to be imposed immediately on the capital company whose branch is located in the Member State concerned, without prior notice and without the company first being given an opportunity to state its views on the alleged breach of the disclosure obligation.