The Public Health Institute, which has previously called for an increase in alcohol taxes, has welcomed the proposal, as does IOGT-NTO, the Swedish temperance movement.
But Erika Nylander, CEO of the industry organization for alcohol importers, tells the TT news agency “This is not public health policy, it is a political game and a very disturbing situation.” She says the government has underestimated the effects a tax increase will have on border trade and smuggling.
Swedes are allowed to bring in virtually unlimited quantities of alcohol from surrounding EU countries, where the prices are already much lower. Swedish Radio News reports that Public Health Minister Maria Larsson is downplaying the risks of increased smuggling.
Confirming the proposal to journalists in connection with a meeting of EU ministers in Latvia, Finance Minister Anders Borg says the level of the tax hike has been held down, to lessen the risk of increased smuggling when alcohol prices go up.