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Hungary off the hook on transactions duty, for now

The European Commission will not launch an infringement procedure against Hungary on Thursday on the matter of a financial transactions duty, Hungarian news portal BruxInfo said on Wednesday, citing sources in Brussels who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

BruxInfo learnt from one of the sources that a decision on the matter had not yet been taken. The portal said this suggests a delay, rather than any change in opinion on the matter by the Commission. BruxInfo said early in September that the Commission could launch an infringement procedure against Hungary because of the duty on September 27, citing sources in Brussels. The Commission's agenda shows the next date on which it could publish decisions regarding infringement procedures is September 27.
The transactions duty is to be levied on the National Bank of Hungary, as well as commercial banks under legislation passed on July 9. In an opinion issued on July 24, the European Central Bank said that levying the duty on the MNB would impair the functional and institutional independence of the central bank and is not compatible with the ban on monetary financing.
European Commission spokesman Simon O'Connor told MTI early in September that Commission had put questions to Hungarian authorities on the duty and would have to carefully analyse the answers before possibly deciding to take any further steps.