The Commission wants to curb the trading of counterfeit alcohol


The European Commission has launched a public consultation in order to combat tax fraud and the trading of counterfeit alcohol products. The current legislation is more than 20 years old.

Today the European Commission has launched a public consultation to assess whether some of the rules on excise duty on beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages should be changed to fight tax fraud and reduce the sale of counterfeit alcohol.

The Commission also wants to look into whether small and home producers of alcohol could benefit from simpler rules and lower excise duties. The consultation is part of the Commission's "Better regulation" agenda which aims to simplify EU laws to reduce regulatory costs and protect consumers.

The directive has not changed since 1992

The consultation, which will run for three months, will determine possible future changes to the current Alcohol Excise Structures Directive (Directive 92/83/EEC), which is more than two decades old.

– Current rules on the classification and excise structure of alcoholic beverages can be open to interpretation, so that some producers can exploit tax loopholes by producing and selling counterfeit alcohol. We also want to look at ways to lighten the burden for our smaller producers, says Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs.

How to take part in the consultation

The consultation invites consumers, alcohol producers, retailers and other interested parties to give their views on a broad range of issues, such as the possible benefits of establishing exemptions and common reduced rates, particularly for small producers of alcoholic beverages and home-brewers.

More information on how to contribute to the public consultation on alcoholic beverages is available from the commissions website.