- Ms Oana Mădălina Călin had to pay an environmental stamp duty in order to register in Romania a second-hand car imported from Germany. She believed that tax to be levied in breach of EU law. She brought an action seeking its repayment. The action was dismissed. She did not appeal. That judgment thus became final.
- Ms Călin requested, on two occasions, the revision of that judgment. Each request was based on a new judgment of the Court finding that a tax such as the one she had to pay infringed EU law. The first request was rejected. The second one was allowed and her initial claim was granted. However, on appeal, the judgment granting that claim was set aside. Relying on an interpretation of national law that had been delivered in the interim by the Romanian High Court of Cassation and Justice, the request for revision was considered to have been submitted out of time.
- By a new request for revision, Ms Călin now disputes that interpretation as well as, more broadly, the national procedure for revision. She considers that they are incompatible with EU law, since in practice they make it impossible to obtain repayment of a tax that was subsequently declared incompatible with EU law by a judgment of the Court of Justice. In such circumstances, the Curtea de Apel Ploieşti (Court of Appeal, Ploieşti, Romania) decided to ask this Court about the compatibility of that interpretation with, inter alia, the principles of legal certainty, equivalence and effectiveness.
In the light of the foregoing, I suggest that the Court reply to the question raised by the Curtea de Apel Ploieşti (Court of Appeal, Ploieşti, Romania) as follows:
- The requirement of equivalence must be interpreted as not precluding, in circumstances such as those in the dispute in the main proceedings, national legislation, as interpreted by national case-law, according to which the deadline to submit a request for revision of a final judgment that infringes EU law is one month and runs from the date of notification of the final judgment subject to revision. By contrast, the requirement of effectiveness and the first paragraph of Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union may preclude a remedy which, while encroaching considerably upon the principles of legal certainty and res judicata, does not provide an effective means of attaining the objectives it seeks to achieve. It is for the referring court to define those objectives and to establish whether the remedy at issue in the main proceedings meets those objectives.