Thursday, May 12, 2005
The EU Pressure on Swedish Alcohol Controls
One of Vice Squad's favorite topics is how the EU's commitment to free trade is making it hard for EU member nations to maintain strict alcohol policies. The possibility of purchasing massive quantities of cheap alcohol abroad and importing it to some degree undermines a high-tax regime, for instance -- as Sweden is learning. The linked article also points out that EU trade policy has liberalized Sweden's alcohol advertising regulations:
Also last year, the EU ordered Sweden to lift its ban on alcohol advertising, which was deemed an unfair barrier to market entry. Before the ban was lifted, even Absolut Vodka, which is made in Sweden, was barred from placing its catchy ads in Swedish magazines.Vice Squad likes to claim that allowing free trade, free speech, or antitrust policy to trump vice policy sows the seeds for undermining trade, speech, and antitrust, while simultaneously engendering less-than-optimal vice policies.