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Hungary loses international lawsuit on tobacco licenses

January 15th, 2015
Népszabadság thinks the government should compensate former tobacconists who lost their licenses after the reform introduced in 2012, after one of them won his case against Hungary at the European Court of Human Rights.

In its front page editorial, Népszabadság recalls that this is the third major ruling against Hungary in Strasbourg, after the government had to pay compensation to judges sent into retirement at 62, and pay back part of the 98 per cent tax imposed on high redundancy payments. Parliament introduced a state monopoly on the sale of tobacco in 2012, confining retail tobacco trade to ‘National Tobacco Shops’ under government licence. (See BudaPost, throughout 2013.) In its first instance verdict, the Strasbourg court ruled that the government must pay 15 thousand Euros in compensation to a former tobacconist for his ‘lost factual property rights’. Economy Minister Mihály Varga said Hungary would not appeal.
Népszabadság asks what will happen to the many thousands who did not seek reparation in Strasbourg. If the government “wants to preserve a semblance of the rule of law”, it has to face their problem in one way or another. “Saying ‘sorry’ will not do”, the left-wing daily concludes.