Potential new coalition: Excise duties on beer, wine, cider to rise (6)
A possible new coalition of the Center Party, the Social Democrats, and IRL has declared it one of their aims to increase the excise duty on beverages containing up to 22% alcohol. Beer producers have been fighting such a measure for years.
An official involved in the coalition talks told ERR’s Estonian news portal on Tuesday that an exact rate hadn’t been specified yet. Also, though an increase was likely to come, this did not mean that all alcoholic beverages would be treated the same.
Estonia’s beer producers have so far fought the measure successfully. In their assessment, this step would increase the consumption of strong alcohol, as the price difference between the two categories would shrink. Currently the excise duty on strong alcohol is more than twice as high.
Center Party chairman and potential coming prime minister Jüri Ratas said on Monday that it was the goal of the currently negotiated coalition to reduce the tax burden on low incomes, and that the coming changes in excise taxation were a part of this.
Though the negotiating parties are not yet releasing any details, the changes in taxation could also include a new excise duty on sugary drinks, as became clear on Monday. Producers already warned that they didn’t see how such a tax could improve people’s health, and announced that they would likely turn to the European Union’s courts to overthrow such a measure.