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EC Launches Infringement Procedures Against Hungary

MTI-Hungary Today 2019.01.24.

The European Commission on Thursday launched infringement procedures against Hungary over plans to make travel by rail accessible to people with disabilities and over excise tax rates on cigarettes.

The EC sent Hungarian authorities a “letter of formal notice”, the first step in an infringement procedure, for failing to submit national implementation plans on compliance with regulations on accessibility to rail travel for people with disabilities and on the “operation and traffic management” subsystem of the rail system. The respective deadlines for submitting the plans were January 1, 2017 and July 1, 2017.

The EC also sent Hungary a letter of formal notice for failing to reach the minimum European Union threshold for excise tax duty on cigarettes. The excise tax on cigarettes in member states must be at least 60 percent of the weighted average retail in the territory.

Hungary has two months to act on the matters or the EC may send authorities a “reasoned opinion”, the second and penultimate step in an infringement procedure.

The EC also decided on Thursday to send Hungary a complementary letter of formal notice for an electronic oversight system intended to prevent tax fraud among road haulage companies. The EC reiterated that the system requiring road haulage companies to provide detailed information for VAT purposes “infringes on VAT rules as it primarily affects cross-border EU transactions and introduces administrative formalities connected with the crossing of borders”, as it said in its initial letter of formal notice sent in October 2017. But it added that legislation on the system “breaches the principles of neutrality and proportionality, as well as the freedom to conduct a business guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU”.

featured image: illustration; via MTI/Zoltán Máthé