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08 May, 2006

Brewing news Finland: Pleading for spirits and beer tax increase in EU

Eero Heinäluoma, the Finnish finance minister, told the Finnish News Agency (STT) on May 06 that Finland, as the EU member state holding the presidency in the latter half of the year, intended to pursue increases in the minimum levels of tax levied on spirits and beer within the union.

Higher EU-wide tax minimums would increase Finland's leeway to raise alcohol tax without risking a boost in private imports from countries such as Estonia, Mr Heinäluoma said.

The minister admitted that the government had judged that any suggestion to start taxing wine would not be worth the flak from wine-producing member states.

The other Nordic countries favour a hike in the tax on spirits, Mr Heinäluoma added.

Finnish alcohol consumption has been rising since the government cut the tax on alcohol by an average 33 per cent in March 2004.


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