Minimum pricing in Scotland is expected to be in place by next year

Minimum pricing in Scotland is expected to be in place by next year

Bulgaria is the first European state to submit a formal objection to the European Commission (EC) over Scotland's plans for a minimum price, it has emerged. 

The objection is expected to delay the consultation period for the Scottish government's plans by three months, to 27 December. It comes after the Scotch Whisky Association launched a two-pronged legal challenge in July against the plans for a 50p minimum unit price, including its own complaint lodged with the EC. 

Plans for a minimum price are fiercely opposed by many in the drinks industry, who argue it will do little to solve alcohol-related issues. 

It is understood Bulgaria is among the countries concerned its products will be affected by minimum pricing legislation in Scotland. 

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association today (14 September) welcomed news of Bulgaria's submission, received by the EC in June. "We are not surprised that concerns about the legality of minimum unit pricing have been formally notified by the Bulgarian government to the European Commission," said chief executive Miles Beale. 

He added: “The extended timetable for consideration of the proposals provides an opportunity for other countries to register their opposition and for the European Commission to seek an explanation from the UK government about the legality of the Scottish government’s proposals.”