The Lithuanian parliament has voted through amendments to the law on alcohol which will see the end of the state-controlled alcohol production monopoly from July 1, 2003. In January, Lithuania's parliamentary Economics Committee had backed government proposals to abolish the state monopoly in 2003 but there had some political support for delaying abolition until 2004.

Lithuania is looking to join the EU in 2004 and the abolition of the monopoly is one of the pre-conditions of EU membership. The same amendments to the law allow for restrictions on alcohol advertising.