Sweden Wins Support In Alcohol Case

Sweden’s tough line on alcohol has won approval from the EU after the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled against allowing consumers to buy alcohol and cigarettes online at lower duties from other countries, meaning private individuals here are still liable to pay Sweden’s high alcohol tax law.

It means that those individuals willing to buy cheaper alcohol and cigarettes abroad will have to bring the goods back themselves, good news for ferry firms and Sweden’s state run monopoly of alcohol retailers, Systembolaget.

The European Court of Justice had been asked to interpret EU law by the Supreme court in the Netherlands after a Dutch wine club objected to being charged duty in their country on a truck load of wine that they had bought online from France.

The directive states ”As regards products acquired by private individuals for their own use and transported by them ...excise duty shall be charged in the member state in which they are acquired.”

Countries such as Sweden and the UK had argued that ”transported by them” should be strictly adhered to, ruling out any goods bought online and delivered by truck.

Swedish officials were pleased with the ruling. ”This is an unusually clear cut verdict,” Karin Wistrand, senior adviser at the Swedish Foreign Ministry, told Swedish news agency TT.