EC looking into financial transactions duty, spokesman confirms

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The European Commission is looking into the introduction of a financial transactions duty in Hungary, a spokesman confirmed on Wednesday.

"What I can confirm is that the Commission is looking at this but I have nothing further to add at this stage," Commission spokesman Antoine Colombani said answering a question on the matter at a regular press briefing in Brussels.

The European Central Bank on Tuesday said the duty, which must be paid by central bank and the treasury, impairs the National Bank of Hungary's (MNB) functional and institutional independence.

The Commission formally closed last week an infringement procedure over the independence of the MNB.

The financial transactions duty, which Parliament approved on July 9, is expected to generated revenue of HUF 239 billion in 2013, including HUF 123 billion from commercial banks and HUF 116 billion from the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) and the treasury, portfolio.hu said.

On an accrual basis, the National Economy Ministry expects HUF 120 billion from the MNB and HUF 10bn from the treasury next year, deputy state secretary Jenő Péter Banai told the business news portal.

The ministry raised the original revenue target for the duty from an original HUF 280 billion to HUF 380 billion after extending it to the central bank and the treasury, but cut it later after an amendment made loan disbursement and repayment exempt.

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