Spain / Supreme Court, Third Chamber / 4968/2013 El Coto de Rioja v S.A Foral Diputation of Alava

Key facts of the case:

The Regional Council [Diputación Foral] of Alava decided to get buck an amount of tax benefits of El Coto de Rioja S.A. that the European Commission declared unlawful. These decisions were concluded without the audience of El Coto de Rioja S.A, who considered violated its rights. The Supreme Court considers that there is a violation of the guarantees of the administrative procedure, particularly the right of audience, right recognized not only in the Spanish Constitution, but also in European Union Law, and particularly in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Paragraphs referring to EU Charter: 


The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union provides in the article 51 that its provisions are also addressed to the Member States while applying the European Union Law. Well, the Charter proclaims in the article 41.2, within the guarantees inherent to citizenship, the right of every person to be heard, before any individual measure that would affect him or her adversely is taken. We mean, the audience is as a necessary step in the procedure not only required in our domestic system but also in the system of European Union Law. And this requirement is at the highest level, in the Charter, which, according to article 6.1 of the Treaty on European Union has the same legal value as the Treaties. And regarding to the words of the Commission Notice 2007 / C 272 /05 (paragraph 52), Member States should “use fast-track procedures where possible under national law” and we add now these procedures must also respect the requirements of European Union Law. Therefore, these procedures must be effective and immediate, but without a deterioration of guarantees recognized for citizens in the law.

Deciding body (original language): 
Tribunal Supremo, Sala Tercera