Revised Structures Directive should be consistent with latest ECJ decision

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Brussels, 17 May 2018. The Brewers of Europe welcomes today’s decision by the European Court of Justice clarifying the Degrees Plato calculation, a scale widely used to determine excise duty rates for beer.   
 
Secretary General of The Brewers of Europe Pierre-Olivier Bergeron said, “We hope that this clarification will be reflected in the European Commission’s draft revision of the Council Directive 92/83 on the harmonization of the structures of excise duties on alcohol and alcoholic beverages, which should be published before this summer.” 
 
Given brewing’s renaissance in Europe and its importance as a jobs and growth provider, it’s critical that policy-makers ensure that beer tax regimes support the value chain. Latest figures show that the brewing sector adds €50bn annually to the EU economy and over €42bn in tax revenues for governments. 
 
Brewers also make a vital contribution to their local communities. Small and medium-sized brewers are major customers for farmers and suppliers in brewing regions. Of the 8,500 breweries operating today in Europe, 1,000 were launched in the past year alone. 
 
The European Commission has made it clear that revising the current legislation should help reduce administrative and compliance costs, improve the revenue collection in some areas, reduce fraud and facilitate legitimated trade, as well as ensuring a higher level of human health protection.  
 
The Brewers of Europe has advised that the Council Directive 92/83/EEC of 19 October 1992 establishes an appropriate legal framework for taxing alcoholic beverages based on a series of rules that recognise the specifics of individual products.  
 
The deceptively simple solution of taxing all alcoholic beverages on the percentage of alcohol by volume overlooks the varying structures of the different drinks sectors, the integral role played by beer in Europe's economy and the fact that beer is so much more than alcohol. 
 
We call for taxation to continue to be based on product categories and not solely on alcohol content regardless of the product. 
 
-END- 
 
Note to editors: Degrees Plato is a scale for measuring the ratio of water to fermentable sugar. 
 
Contact: Jan de Grave, Communications Director, +32 (0)2 551 1810, jdg@brewersofeurope.org 
 
About us: Based in Brussels, The Brewers of Europe brings together national brewers’ associations from 29 European countries and provides a voice to support the united interests of Europe’s 8,500 breweries. The Brewers of Europe promotes the positive role played by beer and the brewing sector in Europe and advocates the creation of the right conditions to allow brewers to continue to freely, cost-effectively and responsibly brew and market beer across Europe. Follow us on Twitter and visit our website

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