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UK’s Supreme Court decision to dismiss the appeal on minimum unit pricing (MUP)

Brussels, 15 November 2017 – Today, the UK Supreme Court declared proportionate the Scottish Government's minimum unit pricing (MUP) legislation, and dismissed the common appeal of CEEV, Scotch Whisky Association and spiritsEUROPE.

“We regret, but respect, the Supreme Court decision and hope to count on the Scottish government to ensure a smooth implementation of this legislation, in a way that would as much as possible limit market distortion and preserve a level-playing field.” said Jean-Marie Barillère, President of CEEV.

The Judgement Conclusions, while confirming that MUP will involve a market distortion, including of EU trade and competition, conclude that this distortion should be regarded as outweighing the health benefits which are intended by minimum unit pricing. The Judgement also states that it was unrealistic to request that the Scottish Government go further to predict the effects of MUP.

“We are disappointed because we remain convinced that the predictions are not based on a good model, but considering that the Scottish MUP system will be ‘experimental’, we now encourage the Scottish Government to carefully monitor its impact.” said Dr Ignacio Sánchez Recarte, Secretary General of CEEV.

“We also request Member States thinking about developing the same kind of measures, not to take premature decisions but to wait for the first review report on the effects of MUP, both on health and economic operators” he added.

“While, CEEV supports the Scottish Government commitment to tackle harmful use of alcohol, we remain strongly convinced that education and prevention programmes do constitute the best long-term solutions to address alcohol misuse. The wine sector will keep working, via the Wine in Moderation programme, to promote responsible and moderate wine consumption as a social and cultural norm, and to work towards maintaining the current decrease of alcohol-related deaths and harm in Scotland.” explained Jean-Marie Barillère, President of CEEV.

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Note to Editors:

  • Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins (CEEV – www.ceev.eu) represents the wine companies in the industry and trade in the European Union: still wines, aromatised wines, sparkling wines, liqueur wines and other vine products. It brings together 24 national organisations and its members produce and market the vast majority of quality European wines, with and without a geographical indication, and account for over 90% of European wine exports.
  • In 2012, the Scottish Parliament passed the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012, under which all alcohol sold through licensed premises in Scotland cannot be sold below a certain price depending on the amount of alcohol contained in the product for sale.
  • The MUP legislation was subject to a legal challenge led by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) in partnership with CEEV and spiritsEUROPE. In December 2016, the 3 associations decided to appeal the decision of the Scottish Court of Session, which ruled in favour of Minimum Unit Pricing despite the Opinion of the CJEU.