European Union ministers have been asked to allow Finland to re-impose restrictions on the beer that its citizens can import from Russia, because of fears of runaway cross-border sales.

Under EU directive 69/169/EEC, private travellers would normally be entitled to import 200 litres of beer from third countries into Finland. However, according to a European Commission note, because "there still exists a considerable disparity in prices" between Russia and Finland, there is a risk cross-border shopping could harm Finnish retailers, depressing tax revenues and potentially fuelling alcohol-related social and health problems.

As a result, Finland has had a temporary special right to restrict imports to six litres/traveller since 2000. This expires December, and Brussels has asked it be renewed, at a more liberal limit of 16 litres.