Retail chains in Hungary, including Tesco and Spar, face a tax on the sector as the country’s government seeks to reduce the nation’s budget deficit.

Hungary, which is under pressure from the EU to cut its deficit, plans to impose special levies to run until 2012 on the country’s telecommunications companies, energy firms and retailers.

The EU has lent on Hungary to reduce the shortfall in its budget amid a push across the bloc to cut deficits. In 2008, Brussels and the IMF saved Hungary from default with a EUR20bn (US$28.2bn) loan.

Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban has pledged to reduce the country’s deficit to 3.8% of GDP this year and to under 3% in 2011.

Tesco and Spar are among the top five food retailers in Hungary. The UK operator has 176 stores in the country, while Spar had 396 outlets at the end of 2009.