European Court of Justice Rules Minimum Unit Pricing in Breach of EU Law
Ian Duncan, the Conservative MEP for Scotland, has reacted to the ruling by the European Court of Justice that introducing a Minimum Unit Price for Alcohol in Scotland would be in breach of EU Law.
This follows a challenge to the Scottish Government's plans by the Scotch Whisky Association.
The Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) Act, which would impose a minimum price for alcohol in Scotland, initially to be set at 50p per unit, was passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2012. In the immediate aftermath, the Scotch Whisky Association challenged the plans, arguing that, not only was the issue not a 'devolved competency' as it dealt with trade, but also that it could distort the internal market of the EU.
The Scottish Conservatives have long voiced their concerns over minimum pricing, giving the bill their support only having inserted two clauses - that a review on its effectiveness would be undertaken after five years and crucially, that it did not breach EU law - which the ruling today proved was indeed the case.
Commenting, Ian, who sit on the Public Health Committee in the European Parliament said, "No one would argue that Scotland has a troubling relationship with alcohol but we have to get the strategy right.”
“The Scottish Government have put all their eggs in one basket and have fallen foul of EU Law. The early warning provided by the EU Advocate General in September should have set alarm bells ringing in Edinburgh. I hope the Scottish Government will publish their Plan B as soon as possible.”