EC advances three infringement procedures against Hungary

EU

The European Commission on Wednesday said it took three infringement procedures against Hungary to the next level. The procedures concern antitrust law for the farm sector, excise duties on spirits and trade of tobacco products.

In each of the cases, the EC requested that Hungary take action in a “reasoned opinion,” the second step of European Union infringement procedures. If the country fails to bring domestic legislation in line with EU law, the EC may decide to refer the cases to the European Court of Justice.

The EC asked Hungary to comply with rules that require cartel members be fined, noting that the country had earlier adopted a law “which essentially prevents the Hungarian competition authority from sanctioning cartels on agricultural products.”

The EC requested Hungary apply one, rather than two, excise duty rates on spirits, as required by an EU directive. It said one of the excise tax rates Hungary levies on spirits is “significantly higher than the other.”

The EC also asked Hungary to amend legislation that restricts the sale of tobacco products after the introduction of new tax rates. At present, following a change in the VAT or excise tax rates, tobacco products fitted with tax markings bearing the old rate may not be sold by wholesalers or importers after a period of 15 days.

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