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Hungary scraps internet tax proposals in the face of protests

Hungary’s draft internet tax has been shelved by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán following widespread public protests against the proposals.

Orbán stated that “the internet tax cannot be introduced in its current form” without ruling out the possibility of a similar tax resurfacing once amendments have been made to current tax laws following a national consultation on taxation in January.

“My problem is not that people oppose a tax,” Orbán said. “Here people question the rationale of the issue. Nothing can be introduced in these circumstances. This debate is derailed.”

The proposed tax would have seen ISPs charged 150 forints (about $0.60) on each gigabyte of data. This would have translated to around 700 forints per month for each individual subscriber and 5,000 forints per business subscriber.

The tax was criticised by the EU and inspired tens of thousands of Hungarians to demonstrate outside the ruling Fidesz party’s offices. Outgoing EU Digital Commissioner Neelie Kroes said that the implementation of an internet tax could stall development in a country where internet usage is already below the EU average.

 

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