The Court of Justice of the European Communities ruled Thursday that Austrias temporary restriction on cigarette...
The Court of Justice of the European Communities ruled Thursday that Austrias temporary restriction on cigarette imports from Slovenia, which requires that excise duty be paid for imports of over 25 cigarettes, is in line with the EUs regulations. The court ruled against Austrian citizen Amalia Valesko, who filed a claim over the restriction, stating that it goes against EU free trade regulations.
The court pointed out that the Austrian act, which implements the restriction, is within the limits of the relevant EU directive. The act was passed in order to prevent Austrian citizens from avoiding excise duty payments.
The court believes that Austrian citizens could avoid the duties by making frequent short trips to its neighbouring countries, where taxes on cigarettes are lower and the cigarettes subsequently cheaper.
Valesko wanted to cross the Grablach/Grablje border crossing from Slovenia into Austria on July 10th 2004 with 200 cigarettes, but customs officials allowed her to import only 25 cigarettes, charging her an excise duty of EUR 16.80 for the remaining 175.