Commission: Hungary’s internet tax is ‘a terrible idea’

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The European Commission said on Tuesday that Hungary’s plans of introducing a tax on internet transfers “is a terrible idea” that “curbs freedom and won’t work”.

The draft tax bill contains a provision for Internet providers to pay a tax of 150 forints (€0.48) per gigabyte of data traffic, though it would also let companies offset corporate income tax against the new levy.

EU spokesperson Ryan Heath said that the new tax “is part of a troubling pattern of behaviour and laws from the Hungarian governments, and more than that it is bad news for the internet which is a global common resource.”

“What affects the internet in Hungary affects us all and it is for that reason that Neelie Kroes and the European Commission are insistent on intervening at this stage of the debate on the tax,” Heath added.

Thousands of Hungarians protested against the government’s plans in Budapest on Sunday. The rally on Sunday was organised by a Facebook group which has over 210,000 supporters. The protesters, which some local websites estimated as numbering over 10,000, gathered in front of the Economy Ministry.

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