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Government gives in to EC on supermarket fees

EU

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The Hungarian Parliament voted today on an amendment to restore the supermarket oversight fee to its original level of 0.1% of net sales revenue for all companies, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

The European Commission (EC) opened in-depth investigations into Hungaryʼs supermarket oversight fee, the EC announced on July 15, thereby preventing the government from collecting the fees, the first installment of which was due at the end of July. 

Under the amendment approved today, fees will be calculated each year using revenue figures from the previous calendar year and micro companies and small companies will be given the option to pay a lump sum, MTI reported.

The European Commission said in June that it was examining whether the oversight fee "with steeply progressive rate structures" was in line with EU legislation regulating state aid and prohibited Hungary from applying the progressive rates until it concluded its assessment. "At this stage, the Commission has concerns in both cases that the progressivity of the rates based on turnover provides companies with a low turnover, a selective advantage over their competitors, in breach of EU state aid rules," the commission reportedly said. "While a fee based on turnover does not in itself raise state aid issues, the Commission considers at this stage that the progressivity of the fee rates selectively favors companies with a low turnover and gives them an unfair competitive advantage over others," the EC was cited as saying.

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