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Government proposes revoking Sunday closing law

Parliament

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The Hungarian government submitted a proposal today to abolish the Sunday closings law –legislation passed last year that requires retailers to remain closed on Sundays – and Parliament is scheduled to vote on the proposal tomorrow in an expedited procedure, according to reports.

If the amendment is passed, a planned referendum to repeal the law, initiated by the opposition Socialist party, would become redundant.

During a press conference today, Antal Rogán, head of the Prime Ministerʼs Cabinet Office, said that although most of the goals set out under the legislation have been met – as retail sales expanded by 5.6% in 2015 and no one in the retail sector was forced to work on Sundays in the past year– most voters are still not convinced that the legislation was for their benefit, Hungarian news agency MTI reported. 

Rogán said the government weighed the possibility of a referendum on the matter and decided that carrying out a referendum to abolish the Sunday closings law would cost HUF 4-5 billion. He said, however, that a referendum on Brusselsʼ refugee quota for Hungary is a far more pressing issue, according to reports.

It was reported on April 6 that Socialist MP István Nyakó could start collecting signatures for a referendum to revoke the law after a competing question supporting the legislation was rejected by Hungary’s Supreme Court (Kúria) that same day.

National Economy Minister Mihály Varga said at the press conference that a review has been conducted on the effects of the Sunday closings, and that results would be published soon, according to reports. Varga insisted that the legislation did not undermine retail sales growth, adding that employment in the sector was up by 3,300 at the end of 2015 as compared to the previous year, and there are currently 6,600 unfilled jobs in the country.

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