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Tag ‘alcohol’

EU wants binge tax on our beer

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
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The EU wants to stop binge drinking by slapping extra tax on our booze. (The Sun, 22 February 2006, p.2)

The Sun confuses two issues here: taxation and health concerns related to alcohol. The European Commission is looking at both issues separately, at the request by the relevant ministers in the EU member states (including the UK).
On taxation: The member states’ finance ministers asked in April 2005 the Commission to draw up a proposal to adjust the minimum rates of excise duty on alcohol in line with inflation. This was last done in 1992.
On health: The European Commission does not have the power, nor does it seek the power, to impose restrictions on the sale of alcohol. However, the member states have requested the Commission to prepare a paper on alcohol related harm and to come up with concrete proposals to address problems related to alcohol and young people. Commissioner for health and consumer affairs Markus Kyprianou is concerned about the negative health and social effects which excessive consumption of alcohol can cause (e.g. heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver, drink driving) – one in four deaths in car accidents is related to drink driving. He is keen to protect young people in particular from these negative effects.

EU ‘Bans Boozing’

Monday, February 21st, 2005
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Clampdown on off-licences (The Sun 21 February 2005)
EU health chiefs are drawing up plans to close thousands of British off-licences… The proposal is said to be part of a drive to curb alcohol abuse across Europe. Other measures include a Monday to Friday ban on off-sales and huge booze price hikes through tax rises. A blueprint masterminded by EU health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou also contains moves to control sales through a state-run monopoly…

EU’s crazy bid to bar weekday sales (Daily Star 21 February 2005)
Supermarkets and off licences will only be allowed to sell booze at weekends under secret plans by barmy Brussels bureaucrats. A leaked document reveals EU chiefs want to ban take-away sales of alcohol from Monday-Friday in an over-the-top clampdown on binge drinking. They also plan to raise the tax on drink sold in pubs.

The EU has no plans, nor secret documents proposing to clamp down on off licenses by closing them or banning Monday-Friday sales. The EU does not have, nor does it seek, the power to propose such measures which are a matter for national governments. At the request of all EU health ministers, including the UK’s, the EU is looking into ways to reduce the harm caused by excessive consumption of alcohol, particularly among young people. The document referred to in these articles is a working paper, not adopted by the Commission, which seeks to draw views from the drinks industry and European countries (including the UK) on possible ways to combat excessive drinking. It contains a review of measures in place in different member states.

EU to cut drink-driving limits

Friday, January 19th, 2001
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“EU could force cut in drink limit” (Daily Mail, 19 January 2001, page 10)
Britain may be forced to slash its drink-drive limit by almost half to bring it in line with most other EU countries.

This is incorrect. The EU could not force a cut from 80mg to 50mg per 100ml in Britain. Though the Commission has recommended a cut in the drink limit, it has no power to set common rules.

Brussels rules on serving wine by the glass?

Saturday, December 24th, 1994
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Myth: Brussels is responsible for a new law forcing hotels and restaurants to serve wine by the glass only in quantities of 125ml or 175ml, or multiples. Wliatsmore each glass has to be lined, with a government-approved stamp, or be served with a government-approved stamped optic.
Source: Financial Times (24 December 1994)

Response: There is absolutely no European legislation which would have any effect on the amounts of alcohol to be served in pubs, bars and so on. This is entirely a matter for the UK Government. The relevant UK legislation is in fact the Weights and Measures (Various Foods) (Amendment) Order 1990, which came into effect on 1 January 1995.

Note for editors:
This story ought not be confused with EU legislation on units of measurement, due to come into effect in the UK this year (see our myth series no. 107). This deals with the way that units of measurement are expressed, and marks the move away from the imperial to the metric system.

EC in the UK

Check the EC Representation in the UK website

Please note that all statements in all entries were correct on the date of publication given. However, older archived posts are not systematically updated in the light of later developments, for example changes to EU law.

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