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The European Commission's campaign against restrictions on personal alcohol imports between European Union (EU) member states could intensify after a new team of Commissioners takes office in November.

Answering a European Parliament questionnaire, Latvia's Ingrida Udre promised a strong line, assuming she is confirmed as taxation and customs union Commissioner. Udre stressed "systematic controls" on private travellers importing alcohol and tobacco from abroad "are incompatible" with EU treaty rules.

Furthermore, not only should "such checks be of an occasional nature only", but if a government "did not respect these principles (she would) not hesitate to engage in infringement procedures".

Existing legal action, such as that against Britain, would be continued.

Latvian Green politician Udre, 45, would also push the harmonisation of divergent national excise rates among member states and at the European Parliament, but she was not optimistic, accepting that "this is a very sensitive and controversial issue".


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