Czech finance minister to bring booze to EU summit

The Czech Republic is
brewing a plan to send a barrel of its finest beer to
EU headquarters in
opposition to proposals to raise the lowest rate of duty on beers and spirits.

Brussels mandarins floated plans last month to raise the EU ‘s minimum levy
on beer and spirits by 31%, but the world’s biggest beer-drinking beer nation
per capita will order its finance minister Vlastimil Tlusty to vote against the
move, which needs the endorsement of all 25 member states.

The increase in the minimum EU duty reflects the same rate of inflation since
the tax was last set 14 years ago, but will make little difference in practice
as the duty in most member states is well above the current minimum.

EU Tax and Customs Commissioner Laszlo Kovacs said he had written to EU
finance ministers last week suggesting a 4.5% increase to the minimum duty on
beer and spirits, from the 31% currently proposed,
Reuters reported.

The compromise would adjust for inflation only since the EU expanded in 2004,
rather than when the tax was last set 14 years ago. 

Discussions are set to go ahead next week and Kovacs said he had asked for
replies by 28 Nov.

Related links:

Europe blocks low tax web booze orders 

UK statement on EU spend to be audited by NAO 

Brussels defends spending methods

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