UK: Scots Health Secretary has "constructive" Brussels talks over minimum pricing
A bill which includes minimum pricing has had Royal Assent in Scotland but is yet to be enforced
Scotland's Health Secretary has held “constructive discussions” with European Commission officials over minimum pricing and says he remains confident that the measure is legal under EU law.
Alex Neil met with lead officials from the commission's business and health departments on Thursday (6 December) to “highlight” the Scottish Government's stance on minimum pricing. “I had constructive discussions with DG Enterprise and Industry, DG Health and Consumers and DG Internal Market and Services in Brussels,” said Neil.
“The Commission is looking forward to receiving our formal response which we are currently preparing and to the dialogue between us which will follow.”
The Scottish Government has until 27 December to respond to the EC's concerns about the legality of minimum pricing. Neil said previously that he would state to the officials in the meeting that “minimum pricing can, and will, save lives”.
The Westminster Government last month also launched a consultation on introducing a GBP0.45 minimum price in England and Wales.
But in a published opinion, EC general secretary Catherine Day has urged the Scottish and UK Governments to abandon their plans for a minimum price as the measure is “disproportionate” and will be an obstacle to trade.
The ruling Scottish National Party's plans are also being challenged by the Scotch Whisky Accosiation with a two-pronged legal challenge.
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