EU push for higher alcohol tax set to hike prices for Britons' booze cruises to Spain


Whilst minimum tax rates have not changed since 1992, the EU Commission has stated that these have “not kept pace with inflation, the evolution of the market, consumption patterns or growing public health concerns”.

Spain has one of the lowest tax rates in Europe, levieing €2.69 (£2.23) per 700ml bottle of spirits, significantly less than many other European countries.

In comparison Italy collects €2.90 (£2.41), Germany €3.65 (£3.03) and France €5.05 (£4.19).

The Mediterranean country collects just €0.03 (£0.02) per 330ml bottle of beer, far below the EU average of €0.14 (£0.12).

Spain has long been a popular tourist destination for Brits and many other Europeans with tempting warm weather, cheap alcohol and many restaurants and bars offering happy hour and free tapas.

The tourism industry took a huge hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, which formed a major part of Spain’s economy.

If Spain levied the same tax rates as its EU compatriots it could collect an additional €1 billion (£829.7 million) in taxes every year.

According to the Daily Mail, Spain’s 2019 excise duties accounted for 0.29 percent of its total tax revenues, with the EU average being 0.79 percent.

There have been calls to introduce higher taxes on alcohol in Spain as a public health issue, particularly as many young people say they “often” get drunk.

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However, this has been disputed by critics who suggest there is no evidence of one glass of wine bringing health benefits.

Fears of higher taxation have alarmed the prolific Spanish wine industry, which is now second only to Italy in its production of wine.

The EU has asked for member feedback on its current tax system on alcohol, which closes on July 4.


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