UK: Spirits trade body to appeal judgement backing Scottish minimum unit pricing

By | 3 May 2013

The European trade organisation for spirits has said that it will appeal the legal ruling handed down this morning in favour of minimum unit pricing in Scotland.

The Court of Session in Edinburgh said earlier today (3 May) that the Scottish Government's introduction of minimum pricing for alcohol is “not outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament”. The court found in favour of the country's authorities, who intend to impose a minimum alcohol price of GBP0.50 (US$0.80) per unit after the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), SpiritsEurope and the Comite Europeen Des Enterprises, Vins launched a legal challenge last year.

The court also decided that the measures were not incompatible with European Union law.

“We are disappointed by this decision and will appeal it, believing that it contravenes not only 30 years of European case law on minimum unit pricing (MUP) but also the views expressed by the European Commission and 11 Member States,” said Paul Skehan, director general of SpiritsEurope. “We are surprised that the Court decided it was unnecessary to refer any question of EU law to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling, considering the existing legal background.

“We are confident that, on appeal, the measure will be proven to be illegal and counter to the rules underpinning the single European market.”

Skehan added: “We also firmly believe that MUP would … set a potentially dangerous precedent for third countries to try to block European products from entering their markets, resulting in a very negative impact on the European drinks industry.”

The SWA has also said that it will appeal the ruling.

To read the court's ruling, click here.

Sectors: Beer & cider, Legislation, Spirits, Wine

Companies: SWA

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