ANA-MPA– The European Commission on Thursday asked Greece to raise currently low taxes on the locally-produced alcoholic drinks ‘tsipouro’ and ‘tsikoudia’ – currently half the normal rate – and bring them in line with taxes on other alcoholic beverages.
The Commission also objects to the extremely low tax rate (6 pct of the standard consumption tax rate) imposed when the same drinks are produced in bulk by farmers using so-called “two-day stills”.
According to a reasoned opinion sent by the European Commission, both tax regimes are in contravention of EU consumption tax rules and favour locally produced alcoholic beverages over those produced in other member-states, violating EU rules on the free circulation of goods.
Greece now has two months in which to reply, after which the Commission can refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.
Tsipouro and tsikoudia are both traditional alcoholic drinks with a protected designation of origin produced in northern Greece and Crete, respectively.