Field Fisher Waterhouse
04 SEP 2015
Back after the summer break to two of my favourite things: alcohol and Scotland!
Plans by the Scottish Government to introduce a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol are likely to breach EU rules on free trade, according to one of the EU Court's Advocates General.
In his opinion, Advocate General Yves Bot states that minimum pricing would interfere with the EU's free movement of goods rules, and could only be justified if proportionate and if no other, less restrictive means, could be found to achieve the desired result (protection of public health):
"A member state can choose rules imposing a minimum retail price of alcoholic beverages, which restricts trade within the European Union and distorts competition, rather than increased taxation of those products, only on condition that it shows that the measure chosen presents additional advantages or fewer disadvantages by comparison with the alternative measure."
This is in line with the EU Court's ruling on minimum pricing for tobacco.
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