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Title: European Commission said on Monday it was taking France and Spain to court for taxing telecoms companies
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European Commission said on Monday it was taking France and Spain to court for taxing telecoms companies to offset the end of paid advertisi...

European Commission said on Monday it was taking France and Spain to court for taxing telecoms companies to offset the end of paid advertising on public TV, saying the practice breached EU rules.

France introduced the charge in March 2009, requiring telecoms operators to pay 0.9 percent of revenues above 5 million euros, generating an estimated 400 million euros in annual revenues for the state coffer.

Spain imposed a similar charge in September 2009 which was expected to raise about 230 million euros for the government last year. "The Commission considers the 'telecoms taxes' in France and Spain to be incompatible with EU telecoms rules," the European Union executive said in a statement, confirming what a source had told Reuters earlier on Monday. [ID:nLDE72D09V]

EU regulations allow for specific charges on telecoms operators only if they are directly related to covering the costs of regulating the telecoms sector.

The Commission also opened infringement proceedings against Hungary for its telecoms tax introduced in October last year, with a rate of up to 6.5 percent of revenues.

Hungary has two months to respond.

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