EU: Europe gets tough on "unfair" Norwegian imports of beer
Norway is being pressured to drop alleged unfair treatment of imported beers by the Surveillance Authority of the European Free Trade Area, (EFTA). The Authority is taking Oslo to the EFTA Court, to force it to comply with fair trade rules laid down by the European Economic Area.
Because Norway is a member of the EEA, the Authority claims that it should treat the sale of beers imported from other EFTA countries (Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein), and those of the European Union, in the same way as it does those brewed locally.
In a statement to the court, EFTA said that Norway should not insist that imported beer of 2.5% and 4.75% abv be sold through the state controlled Wine and Spirits Monopoly, (Vinmonopolet), while Norweigan beers are sold at other outlets.
It also alleged that Norway applies "more restrictive measures regarding licences" for imported beers of this strength than for local beers. "These measures [are] not necessary and proportionate in relation to the objective of safeguarding public health," said the Authority.
It also claimed that Norway had broken EEA rules by failing to allow some restaurants and pubs, which are licensed to sell beer, to also sell other alcoholic drinks with a similar strength.
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