February 16th, 2017

European Commission starts infringement procedure vs Hungary on retail food sales

The European Commission on Wednesday launched an infringement procedure against Hungary regarding legislation on retail food sales and stepped up another on measures dealing with environmental noise. The EC sent a letter of formal notice to Hungary — the first step in an infringement procedure — on legislation that requires retailers to apply the same profit margins to domestic and imported farm and food products, despite the fact that the cost of imported products may be affected by exchange rate changes.

“This may discourage sales of imported agricultural and food products in comparison to domestic ones,” violating the EU principle of free movement of goods, the EC said. Hungary has two months to respond to the EC’s arguments contained in the letter of formal notice. The EC sent Hungary a reasoned opinion — the second step in an infringement procedure — after it failed to adopt measures on environmental noise. The EC called on Hungary to establish the required strategic noise maps and action plans.

The commission noted it had sent Hungary a letter of formal notice on the matter in April 2016 and acknowledged “some progress”, but added that the Hungarian authorities had still failed to draw up and communicate to the EC strategic noise maps for Budapest and major transport corridors in the country. If Hungary fails to act within two months, the EC may refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.

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