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C 51/36 EN Official Journal of the European Union 23.2.

2008

Pleas in law and main arguments comply with its obligations under Articles 2, 9 and 13 of
Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on
The obligation to carry out the classification of special protec- the common system of value added tax (1);
tion areas for birds (SPAs) was imposed on the Republic of
Poland at the time of its accession to the European Union. — order Ireland to pay the costs.

In December 2004 an ornithological inventory was published


which detailed the situation of birds of European significance in Pleas in law and main arguments
Poland (IBA 2004) and designated, on the basis of ornitholo-
gical criteria, 140 areas of crucial importance for the conserva- In Ireland, the State and local authorities are treated as taxable
tion of birds. persons only in so far as a specific order to that effect has been
made by the Minister for Finance. In the Commission's view
Of the areas included on the IBA 2004 list, 15 were not classi- that situation is contrary to the scheme laid down in Article 13
fied by the Republic of Poland as SPAs, notwithstanding the fact of the VAT directive in several respects. First, no provision is
that the Polish authorities failed to produce any scientific made for the taxation of public bodies where they act other
evidence to justify that failure to designate them. than in their capacity as public authorities. Secondly, no general
provision is made for the taxation of public bodies where they
act in their capacity as public authorities but engage in an
Furthermore, the areas of 8 SPAs are much smaller than their economic activity whose non-taxation would result in a signifi-
equivalents on the IBA 2004 inventory, with the result that cant distortion of competition. The taxation of public bodies is
outside their limits there are areas which, according to IBA wholly at the discretion of the Minister for Finance; no criteria
2004, would appear to be most suitable for the conservation of for his decision are contained in the relevant provisions. Thirdly,
bird species. no provision is made for taxation of the activities listed in
Annex I to the VAT directive.
In addition, in September 2007 the Polish authorities, without
notifying the Commission, reduced the areas of 5 designated
SPAs in a manner impacting significantly on bird conservation. (1) OJ L 347, p. 1.

(1) OJ 1979 L 103, p. 1.

Reference for a preliminary ruling from the High Court of


Justice (Queen's Bench Division) Administrative Court
(United Kingdom) made on 17 December 2007 — The
Action brought on 11 December 2007 — Commission of Queen on the application of S.P.C.M. SA, C.H. Erbslöh KG,
the European Communities v Ireland Lake Chemicals and Minerals Limited, Hercules
Incorporated v Secretary of State for Environment, Food
(Case C-554/07) and Rural Affairs

(2008/C 51/59) (Case C-558/07)

Language of the case: English (2008/C 51/60)

Language of the case: English

Parties

Applicant: Commission of the European Communities (repre- Referring court


sented by: R. Lyal and M. Afonso, Agents)
High Court of Justice (Queen's Bench Division) Administrative
Defendant: Ireland Court

The applicant claims that the Court should:


Parties to the main proceedings

— declare that by failing to transpose correctly into Irish legis-


lation Article 13 of Directive 2006/112 (including Annex I Applicants: S.P.C.M. SA, C.H. Erbslöh KG, Lake Chemicals and
to the directive) and consequently by excluding from the Minerals Limited, Hercules Incorporated
scope of the tax all economic activities in which the State,
local authorities and other bodies governed by public law Defendant: Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural
engage, with certain limited exceptions, Ireland has failed to Affairs