Still waiting…

Not only for the publications of the book but also the summary of the contributions to the consultation on the EU alcohol tax framework. The consultation, a significant phase of the evaluation process ended in November 2015, but no further update has been given by the European Commission’s tax division.

As I put it in the book,

The European Commission started evaluating (…) the original [EU excise] directive in 2014. As part of this work, in 2015, an EU-wide consultation was launched on a number of relevant issues, and the member state tax administrations, industry stakeholders, including beer producers, and the general public were invited to share their views. The issues (…) relevant to beer mention classification of beverages, common rules governing the application of reduced rates for small producers across the EU, including a review of the limit (200,000hl) and its market distortion effects, the extension of reduced rates to other products and permission for production of categories other than beer for private consumption.

Although the aim of the consultation is to collect more information and evidence, this preparatory phase will be processed in the justification and baseline for any further legislative action by the European Commission.

According to the evaluation roadmap, the final report of the evaluation, which is supposed to include a summary of the contributions to the consultation, should have been ready in Q1/2016. Although, this information is indicative and was not even supposed to be published, there is not any newer version of the roadmap available.

source: (as of 5th May, 2016)
source: DG TAXUD, roadmap_alcohol_2015.pdf (as of 5th May, 2016)

The delay will most likely be explained by the sheer number of contributions that require processing. Rightly, all businesses in the broader alcohol industry (incl. 7000 in brewing alone) and their entire supply chains incl. retailers  AND the public incl. consumers should be interested and considered stakeholders in the matter and their stakes are high. As I argue, at least for the businesses in the beer business, in the book:

[T]he EU-wide rules on excise essentially define the space and direction for further evolution of the alcohol beverage industry in Europe, including beer in the UK. Most of the interventions considered will have direct or indirect implications on the new wave of brewing. The harmonisation of the rule for reduced rates across the EU might imply, for example, a higher small producer limit in the UK or implementation of a tiered system as opposed to a gradual increase system, which will have major consequences for many operations, including potentially increasing competition from other EU countries. If similar reduced rates are applied to distillers, another wave in the alcohol beverage industry could onset and represent more competition to new wave brews. Capping excise duties, although unlikely to be further considered by the European Commission, will most probably affect the rates in the UK, which levies one of the highest excise rates on beer in Europe. And there are many more hypothetical scenarios.


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