First Interpretative Case on US Sanctions and EU Blocking Regulation Pending before the European Court of Justice

First Interpretative Case on US Sanctions and EU Blocking Regulation Pending before the European Court of Justice

The Higher Regional Court of Hamburg (Germany) has requested a preliminary ruling from the European Court of Justice in the case Bank Melli Iran v. Telekom Deutschland GmbH on the meaning of the EU Blocking Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No 2271/96 amended by Commission Regulation (EU) No 2018/1100 of 6 June 2018).

The case arose after the Deutsche Telekom cut off Bank Melli Iran’s telephone and internet access in November 2018, following the US sanctions. A German court ordered Deutsche Telekom to reactivate services for the Bank. In the proceedings before the German courts (local Court and Higher Regional Court), the Parties argued over the meaning and scope of the EU Blocking Regulation. The Higher Regional Court subsequently sought a preliminary ruling from the European Court of Justice on Article 5 of the EU Blocking Regulation, which protects EU companies against the effects of the extraterritorial application of the third country legislation and measures based on or resulting from such legislation. (for more information see Case C-124/20  5 March 2020 http://curia.europa.eu/juris/documents.jsf?num=C-%20/)

It is evident that the interpretation of the EU Blocking Regulation by the European Court of Justice will have a significant impact on cases pending before national courts in the EU and even on arbitration cases between European companies and their Iranian or US partners.

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