Opinion of Advocate General Bobek in the case AEBTRI.
In the light of all the foregoing considerations, Bobek proposes that the Court should give the following answer to the questions referred for a preliminary ruling by the Varhoven administrativen sad (Supreme Administrative Court, Bulgaria):
— The Court has jurisdiction to interpret the Customs Convention on the international transport of goods under cover of TIR carnets of 14 November 1975 (TIR Convention).
— Article 457(2) of Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93 of 2 July 1993 laying down provisions for the implementation of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 establishing the Community Customs Code, last amended by Council Regulation (EC) No 1791/2006 of 20 November 2006, read in conjunction with Article 8(7) of the TIR Convention, must be interpreted in the sense that the competent customs authorities may claim payment from the guaranteeing association where, in circumstances such as those in the present case, they have required payment through a claim of payment from the TIR carnet holder as the directly liable person.
— Article 457(2) of Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93, read in conjunction with Article 8(1) and (7) of the TIR Convention, is to be interpreted as meaning that, before claiming payment from the guaranteeing association, the competent authorities are not obliged to require payment from all persons who are jointly and severally liable in accordance with Article 213 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 of 12 October 1992 establishing the Community Customs Code, as determined by the provisions of that code.
— A recipient, who acquired or held an item known to have been conveyed under cover of a TIR carnet, where it was not established that that item was submitted and declared before the customs office of destination, can be considered to be a ‘debtor' in the sense of Article 203(3) of Regulation No 2913/92 if he was aware or should have been aware that that item had been removed from customs supervision, which is for the national court to verify. However, failure to require payment from the recipient of the goods does not preclude the liability of the guaranteeing association if the competent authorities have chosen to require payment from another directly liable person pursuant to Article 8(7) of the TIR Convention.