BELGIUM: Swedish alcohol laws take another EU pounding

By | 19 July 2007

The Swedish authorities have been hit by another blow in their battle with the European Union over the country's strict alcohol laws.

In a report issued yesterday (18 July) by a European Court of Justice adviser, the country was accused of putting wine at a disadvantage compared to beer sold in Sweden's state-owned alcohol monopoly Systembolaget.

"The fiscal regime is effectively influencing the potential consumption of wine and putting it at a disadvantage," said Advocate General Paolo Mengozzi. Wines are "primarily imported" from other member states, Mengozzi noted, with the majority of beer being produced domestically.

The Swedish government has been accused by the European Commission of discriminating against EU wines by charging higher tax rates on them. The country charges excise on alcohol depending on the abv of the product. While beer is charged with excise of around SEK7 per litre, a bottle of wine with an abv of between 8.5% and 15% is hit for around SEK22 per litre.

Earlier this year, the ECJ ruled that Sweden's ban on private consumers importing alcoholic beverages is an "unjustified quantitative restriction on the free movement of goods" under European Union (EU) law and cannot be legally justified by claims it reduces alcohol consumption.

Under Swedish law, alcohol imports are only permitted by Systembolaget. The law forces individuals to go through the monopoly to order alcohol, paying a margin of 17%, in addition to administrative and transport costs incurred by Systembolaget.

Sectors: Beer & cider, Spirits, Wine

View next/previous articles

Currently reading -

BELGIUM: Swedish alcohol laws take another EU pounding

There are currently no comments on this article

Be the first to comment on this article

Related articles

Just the round-up – The week in drinks

The top ten most visited stories on just-drinks this week:

US: ABL launches traffic safety toolbox

American Beverage Licensees (ABL) has launched a campaign to fight drunk driving and improve traffic safety in the US.

The just-drinks interview: Con Constandis, CEO, Corby Distilleries

Few companies felt the shockwave of Allied Domecq's sale more than Corby Distilleries. But the Canadian company has shrugged off the doubts and concerns about its future to emerge a stronger and more focussed operation. Con Constandis, the company's CEO, talks to Olly Wehring about this evolution, the sale of an iconic brand and his international aspirations.

just-drinks tagline

Not a member? Join here

Decrease font sizeDecrease font sizeDecrease font size Increase font sizeIncrease font sizeIncrease font size Comment on this article Email this to a friend Print this page