27th Jan 2020

Sweden asked to open up on alcohol

The European Commission has asked Sweden to allow its citizens to freely import alcohol.

At the moment, if Swedish citizens are unable to bring alcohol into the country themselves they have to rely on the state-owned monopoly Systembolaget to organise it.

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They cannot ask other "intermediaries" to do it.

This is a difficult process which means, said a Commission spokesperson on Monday, that "it is virtually impossible" for Swedes to get alcohol from other member states.

The spokesperson added that Sweden may keep its alcohol monopoly - which is in place for health reasons - but that the consumer should be offered more choice.

The spokesperson gave an example of the current situation:

"If a Swede travels to Poland in their car, they can bring back as much vodka as they like for their own personal use".

However, if the person does not travel and orders Polish vodka on the internet then "according to current excise duty rules he has to pay the Swedish level of tax".

"The Commission believes that an individual residing in Sweden should not be precluded from purchasing products available on the market in other Member States", says a press release.

Stockholm has two months to reply to the Commission otherwise it may be called before the European Court of Justice.

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