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Petri Sarvamaa (NCP), a Member of the European Parliament, believes the European Commission’s position on Finland’s plan to restrict distance sales of alcohol came as an unpleasant surprise to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. (Credit: Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva)
Petri Sarvamaa (NCP), a Member of the European Parliament, believes the European Commission’s position on Finland’s plan to restrict distance sales of alcohol came as an unpleasant surprise to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. (Credit: Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva)

 

The Finnish government’s notification concerning the distance sales of alcoholic beverages has been rejected by the European Commission.

The European Commission published its detailed opinion on the notification on Tuesday, viewing that the measures laid out in the notification are partly excessive and would constitute a quantitative restriction on the free movement of goods as a “de jure discrimination against imported alcoholic beverages”.

“The commission understands the health concerns of alcohol abuse and the fact that the control of the consumption of alcohol so as to prevent the harmful effects caused to health of humans and society by alcoholic substances. The commission also acknowledges that the legislation at issue thus seeks to combat alcohol abuse,” it states.

Restricting the free movement of goods, however, is justified on grounds of public health only if the measures are not disproportionate, reminds the European Commission.

“The commission is not convinced about the necessity and proportionality of the prohibition at issue. The commission is of the opinion that other, less restrictive means may be able to achieve the same objective,” it says.

Petri Sarvamaa (NCP), a Member of the European Commission, believes the statement came as a shock to the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

“They have no choice but to accept this,” he said to Uusi Suomi on Tuesday, referring to a guest contribution to Helsingin Sanomat by Ismo Tuominen, a ministerial counsellor at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Tuominen described the commission’s recommendations as imaginative and speculated whether they would make it possible to pick up whisky from R-kioskis.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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