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Hungary Considers Taxing Overseas ICT Giants, PM Hints In Speech At ITU Telecom World Conference

Tamás Székely 2015.10.12.

The weight of Central Europe in the digital economy will appreciate as the region becomes a growth engine in the European Union over the next 10-15 years, Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán said at the ITU World Telecom conference in Budapest. The Hungarian Premier also mentioned to the possibility of introducing to so-called “Google/Facebbok-tax“ in Hungary. “It is important that overseas corporations who make a profit from our digital economy should contribute to the growth of the sector,” he said.

Orbán Viktor

Hungary has produced the highest growth rate in the digital economy in the EU as the digital economy accounts for 21-22% of the country’s GDP. It is above the EU average-and the sector provides jobs for 400,000, or 15% of all Hungarian employees, he said. Based on these numbers, Hungary’s digital economy ranks third in the EU, behind Ireland and Finland, he added. Rapid changes in the modern world pose challenges to democratic political systems, he said, adding that people must not feel they have “lost control over the development of the world”.

Orbán Viktor

To this end, Hungary has introduced national consultations on important strategic issues such as a national consultation on the internet and how they would like it to develop. “People were asked to give clear answers on what direction developments should take and on how they intend to use the opportunities of the digital economy”, he said. Among the most important tasks identified were the protection of children, stricter enforcement of regulations and increased government support for digital development, Viktor Orbán said. More than 8% of Hungary’s exports stem from the digital economy and a significant 10% of R+D spending on focuses on this sector, he added.

Távközlési konferencia - Telecom World 2015 kiállítás

According to its website, ITU Telecom World is an annual ICT event organised by ITU Telecom, part of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN agency responsible for ICT-related issues. The organisation regards itself as a global platform for accelerating ICT innovations, aiming “to deliver economic development and social good faster through its exhibition for digital solutions, forum for sharing knowledge, and networking hub connecting nations, organisations and individuals.”  ITU Telecom World hopes the exhibition in Budapest will prove to be an investment in the future of the city as “one of the ICT capitals of the world.”

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