The European Commission has called on Hungary to suspend discriminatory fuel pricing against vehicles with foreign license plates or face infringement proceedings, Reuters reports.
In a letter sent on Wednesday, Thierry Breton, the European Union’s internal market commissioner, wrote that vehicles with license plates from other EU countries would have to pay 50-60% more for fuel compared to vehicles with Hungarian license plates, amounting to indirect discrimination and going against EU rules.
I am asking you to provide us with your reply with regard to the justification and the validity period of those measures, which might constitute violations of EU law,”
Breton said in the formal request to Hungary’s technology minister, László Palkovics.
I am also asking you to suspend the application of the measures until their compliance with EU law has been ensured,” he added.
Breton said that the European Commission reserves the right to launch urgent infringement proceedings which can ultimately lead to court action against Hungary and possible fines.
The Hungarian government decided at the end of May that only cars with Hungarian license plates can be refueled at reduced prices mandated by the government, for only 480 HUF (~EUR 1.2) per liter. At the same time, car owners with foreign license plates have to pay a much higher market price.
The government has said that the exclusion of foreign car owners was implemented in order to stop the increasingly prevalent petrol tourism in Hungary, in which car owners are coming from neighboring countries en masse to fill up their tanks at the European Union’s cheapest gas stations.
Featured photo illustration by Péter Komka/MTI