The UK government wants to bring in a minimum price per bottle of alcohol to deter mindless antisocial behaviour by people who "preload" on cheap off licence alcohol before going late to the pub.The EU views this minimum pricing as anticompetitive and violating the principles of free trade. It is likely to take a similar view on the one euro Irish wine tax- a form of minimum pricing as it hits cheap Lidl wines as hard as champagnes. But shouldn't the need to curb antisocial drinking and unhealthy binge drinking override this?
The principle of free trade would be undermined if the tax is allowed. In any industry in the UK or Ireland threatened by low cost imports as many EU industries have been since the creation of the Common Market in the 1950s,imposing flat taxes on both low prices and high prices could have seen off a lot of the competition. When European clothing manufacturers were threatened by low cost Asian imports,a high flat tax on, say, all shirts could have given the European manufacturers a major competitive advantage.