Mon. Jan 30th, 2023

Today, the Commission decided to send a letter of formal notice to Hungary, requesting it to comply with the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) on free movement of goods and the Single Market Transparency Directive (Directive (EU) 2015/1535).

Hungary has introduced a prior control scheme at national level affecting sale or export of building materials abroad. According to the Commission, the Hungarian Government Decree No 402/2021 introduces a prior control scheme at national level affecting sale or export of building materials abroad. This represents a measure having equivalent effect to a quantitative restriction on exports within the Internal Market, in violation of Article 35 TFEU. It appears that the restriction imposed by this Decree is not substantiated by any valid overriding reasons in the public interest. Therefore, it could also infringe Article 36 TFEU.

The Commission furthermore believes that Hungary breached its obligations under the Single Market Transparency Directive, which lays down notification and standstill obligations. In addition, as the restriction seems to apply also to the exportation from Hungary to third countries, the Decree regulates external trade and can be considered a measure falling within the common commercial policy, which is an area of Union exclusive competence. Hungary now has two months to address the concerns raised by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion to Hungary.

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