The European Commission on December 7 decided to refer Romania to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for failing to fully recover illegal state aid worth up to EUR 92 million from local investors Viorel and Ioan Micula and their group of companies, as required by a Commission decision of 2015.
Romania finds itself between conflicting rulings of an international arbitration court and the EC.
An arbitral award from December 2013 (Micula versus Romania) found that by revoking an investment incentive scheme in 2005, four years prior to its scheduled expiry in 2009, Romania had infringed a bilateral investment treaty between Romania and Sweden. Romania had abolished the scheme as part of the process of accession to the EU in order to comply with EU state aid rules in its national legislation. The arbitration tribunal ordered Romania to compensate the claimants, Viorel and Ioan Micula, two Romanian-born investors with Swedish citizenship, for not having benefitted in full from the scheme.
However, following an in-depth investigation, on March 30, 2015, the Commission adopted a decision concluding that the compensation paid by Romania to the two investors and their companies was in breach of EU state aid rules and ordering Romania to recover the compensation from the beneficiaries.