EU to take legal action against France and Spain over telecoms taxes

France and Spain are to be taken to court by the EU over telecoms taxes. According to reports from Reuters, the EU executive will take legal action over taxes imposed on telecoms companies aimed at compensating for the end of advertising on public television stations.

An unnamed source has said that such taxes are deemed to be incompatible with EU telecoms rules, which require specific charges on telecoms operators to be directly related to meeting the costs of regulating the telecoms sector. The EU further requires that any such taxes be “objective, transparent and proportionate.”

In France, the tax was introduced in March 2009 following a government decision to end advertising on public broadcaster France Televisions. Spain followed suit with a similar levy in September 2009. Hungary, which also introduced a telecoms tax in October last year, will also face proceedings. According to Reuters, both France and Spain impose a tax of 0.9 per cent of the total turnover of telecoms companies that operate in their territories, generating revenues of €400m in France and €230m in Spain.

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