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Sweden to face EU Court over alcohol tax

Publicerat onsdag 18 juli 2007 kl 15.31
Swedish taxes are breaking EU law, according to the Advocate General

An Advocate General for the European Union has reprimanded Sweden for its alcohol tax policy.

Paolo Mengozzi is taking Sweden to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg for placing higher taxes on wine than on beer, which he argues favours domestic beer production over foreign wine imports.

The Swedish government maintains that its tax policy does not make a decisive difference when consumers choose between buying beer or wine.

The EU commission and Sweden have both presented statistics on price comparisons in order to prove their respective arguments.

Mr. Mengozzi says that regardless of the criteria used in comparing prices, wine is still taxed considerably higher than beer. This, he argues, is sufficient evidence to prove the tax system treats wine consumers unfairly, and that other EU nations who produce wine are losing out.

The Court of Justice usually follows the advice of its Advocate Generals in making decisions, but not always. Last month, the Court ruled that a Swedish government ban on individuals importing alcohol breached EU law. This decision went against the advocate general’s recommendation that the Swedish law be upheld.

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