The European Commission dropped its pending case against Hungary with the European Court of Justice regarding the telecoms tax introduced in 2010. The EC turned to the court last October, after sending a letter of formal notice to Hungary. Had the court decided for the Commission the Hungarian state would have to repay somewhere in the neighbourhood of HUF 200 billion (EUR 714.98 million).
The decision to withdraw the case against Hungary and against Spain came after the European Court decided in favour of France in a similar case, the Commission’s spokesman’s office said in a statement. “In view of the recent Court of Justice judgement regarding telecoms charges in France, the Commission has decided on 18 July 2013 to withdraw the cases pending before the Court against Spain and Hungary on telecoms charges,” the statement said.
The Luxembourg-based court ruled that France’s sectoral tax levied on electronic telecommunications service providers was not in breach of the EU’s authorisation directive. Article 12 of the directive states that „administrative charges imposed specifically on telecom operators should only cover costs related to the management and regulation of the sector.” The court said that the charge levied in the French case was a tax not an administrative charge, so the stipulations of the directive does not apply to this case.