Response to Advocate General’s Opinion on MUP

03 Sep 2015

David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said: "We welcome the Advocate General's opinion on minimum unit pricing (MUP) of alcohol. The opinion encourages us in our long-held view that MUP is illegal when there are less trade restrictive measures available.

"We await the Court of Justice's final ruling.

"It remains important to address alcohol misuse with a range of other measures of proven effectiveness. We will continue to work closely with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders on this. There is a long-term trend of falling alcohol-related deaths and harms in Scotland which suggests that measures in place are working."


Notes to editors

The SWA may have further comments today once it studied the Advocate General's opinion in more detail.

The SWA, along with spiritsEUROPE and Comite Vins, took legal action against MUP in 2012. The case was referred to the CJEU by the Scottish Court in 2014 for a ruling on questions of EU law. Several Member States - Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria and Poland - raised similar concerns at the CJEU's hearing in May.

The CJEU's ruling is likely in the new year.

Once it has received the ruling of the Court of Justice, the Court of Session will decide on the next steps.

The SWA is opposed to minimum unit pricing (MUP) because:
• MUP will not tackle alcohol misuse effectively. Research for the Scottish Government shows it will not reduce the number of people drinking at hazardous and harmful levels.
• The Scottish Government's own data demonstrates that alcohol sales have been falling in Scotland since 2009.
• Minimum pricing was first ruled illegal as a barrier to trade by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) more than 30 years ago.   The Court has consistently ruled against minimum pricing since.
• MUP will set a precedent for equally ineffective and illegal measures by other countries which could severely damage the Scotch Whisky industry's export markets and the Scottish economy.

With media queries please contact Rosemary Gallagher, SWA head of communications on 0131 222 9230 or 07432 605385 or email rgallagher@swa.org.uk or David Williamson, SWA public affairs and communications director on 0131 222 9226 or 07730 496151 or email dwilliamson@swa.org.uk

Visit www.scotch-whisky.org.uk   
Twitter @ScotchWhiskySWA