Minimum alcohol pricing to go before EU court

news  %tages Minimum alcohol pricing to go before EU court
Scotland's proposal to set a minimum fee on wine, beer and spirits has been referred to the European Court of Justice, where a judgement could set a precedent across the EU.

Both supporters and opponents of minimum pricing claimed victory after Scotland's Court of Sessions said today (30 April) said that it would submit the controversial policy to the European Union's highest court.In the small-term, the ruling means Scotland's government will have to wait to implement its plotted floor fee of 50 pence per alcohol unit. If enacted, the cheapest bottle of wine available would be around £4 in retailers. While that might not affect producers or consumers at the higher end of the market, many are oppposed to the principle of minimum pricing. José Ramon Fernandez, secretary general of European wineries trade body, CEEV, welcomed the Scottish court's choice. 'We wait consistently opposed to minimum pricing as an ineffective and disproportionate measure, incompatible with our EU common rules, that would not tackle harmful use of alcohol and would penalise responsible consumers. We are confident that our position will be finally upheld through the Court administer,' he said.The CEEV said that several suitcases on minimum pricing in additional business sectors have earlier been ruled illegal by European courts. But, Scotland's government believes minimum pricing is certainly legal, and also believes it has strong public health grounds for the policy.'The evidence shows that minimum unit pricing is an effective way to tackle alcohol-related harm,' said Scotland's health secretary, Alex Neil. 'We are confident of our case.'

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