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Hungary vows to defy European Comission on tax holiday for home distillers

EU

Hungary maintains the view that its excise duty regulations on spirits comply fully with EU law and wants to maintain them, the economy ministry told MTI on Tuesday. The ministry responded to an infringement procedure the European Commission launched on April 26 against Hungary for applying two excise duty brackets on spirits which the Commission said is in breach of EU law. The Commission referred to EU legislation that sets a minimum for the rate but requires member states to use only one rate. The ministry said that setting two different rates depending on the product’s alcohol content was necessitated by a rapid increase in the consumption of “low category” spirits by the public. The regulation, introduced also over public health concerns, increases the retail price of those cheap spirits, which brings down consumption, the ministry said in a statement. The ministry noted that EU legislation allows a distinction of spirits depending on quality and added that Hungary will defend its measure if it is referred to the European Court of Justice.

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