The plans of Scotland for minimum alcohol pricing were opposed by five European wine-producing nations.
France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Bulgaria shared their opinion that such changes may turn out to be devastating on spirits industry. According to them such reforms would breach European free trade law.By the way, do you have our Alcohol and Drug policy.
However, Scottish government called the minimum pricing- “perfectly legal”.
Only Irish , out of 12 countries that have expressed their views, claims they have nothing against the minimum pricing.
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), spiritsEUROPE and the Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins have already challenged in court the legality of the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act.
The beginning was not hopeful- on 3 May the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled that the minimum pricing law was legal. But SWA does not stop with its appeals against that decision.
An SWA spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Court of Session failed to give any consideration to the effect of minimum unit pricing on producers in other European Union member states.”
According to a senior Scottish government source the minimum price would not be applied within the next 12 months.
If the proposal is accepted a bottle of wine in Scotland with an alcoholic strength of 12.5% would cost at least £4.69.
Ministers stated that alcohol abuse problem will be solved to some extent with this law on the minimum price of alcohol.
Scottish Health Secretary Alex Neil had many difficulties in persuading most of the EU member states that this law needed to be accepted.
Portuguese claimed this minimum pricing would be disastrous for many of the companies in the sector.
Lisbon considered such a law a discriminatory one because British manufacturers had higher production costs and higher prices than continental European wine-producers.
France pointed out that “the average price of a bottle of wine produced in the United Kingdom is higher than the average price of imported wine”.
Bulgaria said wine and spirit producers will have to face many obstacles.
Spain and Italy shared the views of the other countries opposing the law.