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Hungary govt argues dual excise tax on spirits is in line with EU rules

EU

Hungary's National Economy Ministry has said the country's practice of levying two excise tax rates on spirits, depending on alcohol content, is "completely in line with" European Union rules. A source who declined to be identified told journalists in Brussels a week ago that the European Commission would launch an infringement procedure against Hungary because of EU rules that allow only a single excise tax rate for spirits. The ministry said the decision to introduce a second excise tax, one that is higher for cheap, flavoured ethyl alcohol, was a matter of public health. It was taken with the aim of reducing consumption of such spirits, which was on the rise, it added. The ministry noted that EU rules allow for differentiations among spirits based on quality, adding that the government was prepared to defend its stand on the matter of the excise tax rates before the European Court.

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