The EU brought the Romanian state to the European Court of Justice over provisions in the country’s new Fiscal Code that came into force on January 1, 2007, that establish a new tax for the first registration of both new and used cars. European officials say the new tax does not comply with EU law, according to Romanian media.

In case it loses the case at the ECJ, the Romanian state would have to modify the law and remove the new provisions in this regard while also risking serious fines.

The introduction of the first car registration tax has been fiercely criticized as it differentiates clearly between prospective winners and losers. Officially presented as an anti-pollution measure, it brings advantages to local car makers and importers of new cars while undermining the chanes for second-hand car importers.

Hungary and Poland, which have also introduced such protectionist measures, also face troubles at EU levels and experts say fines are imminent in their cases.