EU pushes for alcohol tax hike to boost prices of booze cruises from Brits to Spain | World | News

While minimum tax rates have not changed since 1992, the European Commission has stated that they “have not kept pace with inflation, changing market conditions, consumer habits or growing public health concerns”.

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

In comparison, Italy receives €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, well below the European 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 booze and plenty of restaurants and bars offering free happy hour and tapas.

The tourism industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has formed a significant part of Spain’s economy.

If Spain levied the same tax rates as its EU compatriots, it could collect an additional €1bn (£829.7m) in tax each year.

According to the Daily Mail, Spain’s excise duties in 2019 amounted to 0.29% of its total tax revenue, compared to the EU average of 0.79%.

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

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

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

The EU has asked members for their views on its current alcohol tax system, which ends on July 4.

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