Scotland politics

Minimum alcohol pricing: Position of the Netherlands

Opinions of European Union member states on Scottish government plans for minimum alcohol pricing have been released to BBC Scotland.

Position of the Netherlands on Notification 2012/0394/UK on the draft Alcohol (minimum price per unit) (Scotland) Order

Scotland has proposed legislation meaning that a given alcohol product may not be sold at a price lower than the minimum price.

The introduction of a minimum price seeks to reduce alcohol consumption in Scotland. In the Scottish authorities' view, this will lead to an improvement in public health and improvements in public services, productivity and the economy as a whole, as well as reductions in crime.

In Scotland's view, the introduction of a minimum price is an essential part of a broader strategy consisting of more than forty measures to tackle the damaging effects of alcohol.

In an explanation of its strategy to reduce alcohol consumption, Scotland claims that the introduction of a minimum price is both crucial and essential if the scheme is to succeed.

In Scotland's view, the proposed legislation is therefore necessary if public health is to be safeguarded and improved.

Scotland considers that the market impact resulting from the proposed legislation may be justified as both people's lives and public health will be protected as a result.

The Netherlands considers that the principle of free movement of goods is not an a priori hindrance to the type of measures Scotland intends to introduce. However, the Dutch authorities are of the view that the case law of the European Court of Justice on this subject should be taken into account.

In light of such case law, the Netherlands is calling for a guarantee that the proposed measures shall not result in arbitrary discrimination or disguised forms of trade restrictions.

The Netherlands requests the United Kingdom to ensure that the legislation proposed by Scotland shall not lead to a violation of the European acquis communautaire.