Finland plans to press for a hike in the minimum level of duty on spirits and beer during its presidency of the EU later on this year, according to local reports.

Finland takes over the presidency in the second half of this year and wants duty raised as private imports of alcohol into the country are on the increase.

Cross-border shopping to neighbouring Estonia, which has lower taxes on alcohol, has boomed since the Baltic states joined the EU in 2004.

Local reports quoted Finnish finance minister Eero Heinaluoma as saying the issue would be raised during Finland's presidency but that the country had no plans to propose a minimum tax on wine.

"Wine is such a sensitive topic, and is not a problem for Finland. Problems come from imports of spirits and beer," he told Finnish news agency STT yesterday (7 May).