Greek High Court removes ‘unbearable’ and ‘unjust’ wine tax

Greece’s High Court has ruled to revoke excise tax imposed on wine introduced by the ruling radical left Syriza-led government following criticism from the industry, which labelled the tax as “unbearable” and “unjust”.

Protesters in GreeceThe reversal is a victory for Greece’s local wineries and trade organisations such as The Greek Wine Federation (GWF), the National Interprofessional Organisation of Vine and Wine of Greece (EDOAO) and other wine associations, which had been petitioning against the hikes ever since the Syriza-led government introduced the new regime in 2016.

Based on the special consumption tax that had been in place since January 2016, 15 cents were added to each 750ml bottle, and 20 cents per litre, in order to increase government revenue as part of the bailout programme.

However, the decision triggered protests from the wine industry, and gave rise to an illicit alcohol trade while wine consumption declined, according to Euractiv.

Welcoming the court ruling, GWF director Theodoros Georgopoulos told The National Herald, it is “a great moment of vindication for the wine sector in a case with many legal aspects that will constitute a milestone in the future.”

“If we had been asked in advance, the sector would have avoided this unbearable, unjust and eventually illegal predicament,” he added.

The court ruling would mean that the tax will be automatically cancelled, according to the report.

Last year, the country’s Minister for Agricultural Development and Food, lamented that the excise duty had been ‘ineffective’ in bringing about the desired financial result.

The government only collected €14 million, out of the €60 million budgeted.

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