On 6th of December 2018 the Court of Justice of the European Union published a press release with a resolution on the case C-305/17 regarding the imposing of specific charge for the use of the network in Slovakia for export of electricity generated in the country.
With its decision the Court states that Member States may not impose a charge on the export of electricity generated in their own territory. “Such a charge is not justified by the objective of ensuring the security of supply of electricity in the national territory”.
In Bulgaria for year such an export fee is charged to the electricity for export generated in the country. This fee comprises of two prices – for “access to the transmission network” and for “transmission of electricity to the transmission network”. With its decision on the case in Slovakia the Court of Justice of EU finds that electricity is a product within the meaning of EU law, and that a charge imposed, not on goods as such, but on the use of the network used for their transmission, must be treated as having been imposed on the product itself. Consequently, the disputed charge comes within the scope of the FEU Treaty provisions relating to the free movement of goods.
The Court concludes that the prohibition of the imposition by Member States of customs duties and charges having equivalent effect constitutes an essential rule of EU law from which there can be no derogation and which cannot be justified under the FEU Treaty, whether in regard to relations between Member States or in regard to relations between Member States and non-EU countries
In the press release is noted that the Court of Justice of EU does not decide the dispute itself. It is for the national court or tribunal to dispose of the case in accordance with the Court’s decision, which is similarly binding on other national courts or tribunals before which a similar issue is raised.