bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Ceturtdiena 21.06.2018 | Name days: Monvīds, Egita, Emīls
LatviaLatvia

Economist: EC could interpret energy drink trade restrictions as illegal

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Uldis Osis

In accordance with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, free circulation of goods is one of the founding principles of democratic and legal state management. Unjustified limitation of any product within Latvia, a member of the European Union, is not acceptable, Economist Uldis Osis notes.

“I believe the issue of much debated energy drink trade limitation for minors is, in fact, motivated with the best of intentions – care for the children’s health. However, attempts to realize this initiative using administrative restrictions, as it is provided by the Energy Drink Circulation Law currently reviewed by the parliament, is one of the least effective ones. Also, it can be safely assumed that the European Commission will surely see this as an illegal act that threatens the free circulation of a product within the single market of the EU,” – member of the Economists Union 2010 says.

Creators of the bill mention the 2009 assessment of the European Food Safety Authority about two most common components of energy drinks – taurine and glucuronolactone. The conclusion of the institution’s specialists was – these substances have no negative effect on the human health.

“If we believe the assessment was inconclusive – whether or not the effect of caffeine or some other component was not measured – we need to carry out no less detailed and methodical research actions in order to test these substances. So long as there are no results that would prove the negative effect of any containing substances on the human health, the initiative to create a legal base that will restrict the selling of energy drinks to individuals under the age of 18 can be interpreted based on Section 36 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union as an attempt of state officials to turn against free product circulation in Latvia,” – Osis believes.

With that, according to him, legislators will need to face litigations, because restriction can be considered as discrimination of any specific manufacturer’s product. In order to be able to discuss the adoption of real restrictions, it is first necessary to statistically prove the habits of Latvia’s youth – what are the energy drink consumption rates among Latvian youth, what is the healthcare statistics in Latvia, can society actually follow energy drink consumption rates?

It is also necessary to prove that this goal cannot be achieved through other means. Until all these criteria are met, the restriction to sell energy drinks to individuals under the age of 18 would just as unreasonable as prohibiting the consumption of confectioneries because of fatty acids or potato chips because of salt.

The economist reminds that more than 90 years ago – in 1920, USA officially adopted the “prohibition”, which either completely or partially prohibited the manufacturing, transport and consumption of alcohol. It was adopted in some states even earlier. Even the manufacturing of beer was limited. Hundreds of alcohol manufacturing plants and breweries were shut down, hundreds of bars and restaurants were closed down as well. This was very beneficial from the point of view of general public order, welfare and healthcare – the number of homeless people reduced 3.5 times, the number of convicts in prisons reduced four times and the economy had an increase of household savings.

“However, shortly after the adoption of the law, something happened that legislators could not foresee. Gangsters managed to ruin almost all positive effects: entire fleets, railway carriages and trucks were organized to supply illegal alcohol to underground bars and restaurants. In spite of the fact that 2.5 thousand secret agents were hired to combat illegal alcohol trading, corruption within the border guard, police forces and other state institutions increased significantly. It is estimated that the Mafia earned more than $2 billion in the ’20s “thanks” to the prohibition,” – Osis noted.

He added that the Soviet Union ignored the unfortunate experience of USA and adopted strict restrictions on alcohol consumption in 1985. The end result did not differ much from the result USA got in the end.

According to the economist, the adoption or cancellation of a “dry” law of any kind cannot be used directly in regard to the energy drink market. Nevertheless, this experience was one of the main reasons for the adoption of the free market principles in the EU and other countries.

“I would like to call everyone to direct their attention to this bill, because it is not just a story about energy drinks – it concerns the unfortunate experience in adopting restrictions of any kind,” – he concludes.

Ref: 102.109.109.6787


Leave a reply

Ukraine's anti-corruption court law insufficient to IMF commitments

The International Monetary Fund has commended the Ukrainian parliament for passing a law to establish an anti-corruption court and pointed to need to amend it to ensure the court can work effectively.

Opinion: they’re trying to shut us up; KPV LV is inconvenient for current government

«We are inconvenient for the current government, the established order, because for the first time a party is prepared to use facts in its rhetoric in the pre-election period. They are trying to shut us up,» said KPV LV prime minister candidate Aldis Gobzems at a press-conference after Artuss Kaimiņš was taken away by Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau.

Hydro and wind power plants produced 70.5% more electricity last year

In 2017 gross energy consumption in Latvia comprised 194.9 petajoules, which is 5.5 % more than in 2016. Over the past five years, the gross energy consumption has not changed significantly. However the share of renewable energy has increased by 2.55 percentage points.

Milder penalties for the accused in digital TV case; idea’s authors get no prison sentence

Riga Regional Court has released a shortened ruling in the so-called digital television criminal case. With it, the court acquitted previously convicted former director of Latvia’s National Theatre Ojārs Rubenis. Nevertheless, some of the accused have been sentenced to fines and actual prison time.

Estonian traitor Simm ruled to serve full 12.5 years in prison

A court in Tartu has decided that the Estonian Defence Ministry ex-official Herman Simm, found guilty of treason in 2009 and sentenced to 12.5 years in jail, has to serve his full sentence, not to be released earlier.

CPCB officers detain Kaimiņš after Saeima meeting

Officers of Latvia’s Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau detained Saeima deputy Artuss Kaimiņš after the end of the parliament’s meeting.

Around 15% of Estonian 15-19-year-olds estimated to have mental illness

In Estonia, an estimated total of 20,000-40,000 adolescents, comprising 10-20% of all teenage Estonians, have been found to suffer from a mental illness and close to 3,000 children have been prescribed antidepressants.

Chief: Anti-Money Laundering Service should not submit to a single person

Anti-Money Laundering Service should not be controlled by a single person, says chief of the Control Service Ilze Znotiņa.

Saeima permits commencement of criminal process against Artuss Kaimiņš

This week Latvia’s Saeima voted in favour of the decision to detain and then perform a search in the home of Saeima member Artuss Kaimiņš from KPV LV political party.

U.S. withdraws from UN Human Rights Council voicing sharp criticism

The U.S. has withdrawn from the United Nations Human Rights Council describing the body as being politically biased and not working towards reducing human rights violations globally.

Latvian minister confirms interrogation by Lithuanian investigators

In the case regarding possible corruption in the National Blood Centre, Lithuanian services have interrogated Latvia’s Healthcare Minister Anda Čakša, as confirmed by the official.

Recreational use of marijuana legalised in Canada

Canadian Parliament has adopted a law legalising the recreational use of marijuana nationwide after medical use of the drug has been allowed since 2001. Canada is to become the second country in the world allow buying marijuana for recreational use.

Human Rights Committee: KGB documents should be made publicly accessible

Documents left from Latvian SSR KGB office are part of national document heritage and therefore should be handed over for lifetime storage and be made publicly accessible for research in Latvia’s National Archive.

Non-negotiated contracts; fictive deals: digital television introduction schemes for «mere mortals»

The criminal process revolving around digital television project’s realization in Latvia was launched 15 years ago – in 2003. And it began with a search in a company owned by Andris Šķēle. After that, the list of involved people started expanding with names like Andrejs Ēķis, Jurģis Liepnieks and others.

Doctors unjustifiably charged fees for services worth 255,000 last year

Last year, authorities found that medical institutions that provide state budget-financed healthcare services had charged fees for services worth EUR 254,994, according to data compiled by Health Inspectorate.

Budget Committee picks Swedbank economist for Bank of Latvia Council

On Tuesday, 19 June, Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee unanimously decided to submit to the Saeima a decision project regarding approval of Mārtiņš Kazāks for the post of member of the council of the Bank of Latvia, as confirmed by Saeima’s press-service.

Farmers Saeima proposes declaring state of emergency in Latvia’s agriculture sector

Farmers Saeima association has sent a letter to Latvia’s State Chancellery, Agriculture Ministry, Finance Ministry and Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments, detailing a request addressed to the Cabinet of Ministers and Saeima to declare a state of emergency in the country’s agriculture sector because of the lasting drought.

IT specialist’s lawyers appeal client's arrest in recent restaurant case

Lawyers of Edgars Štrombergs, who is the accused party in the Vairāk saules restaurant cash register data manipulation case, have appealed the security measure applied to him, as confirmed by sworn attorney Mareks Halturins.

Russian and Belarusian arms control experts hosted by Lithuania

Russian and Belarusian arms control inspectors have been hosted by Lithuania as NATO forces trained across the Baltic states and Poland in exercise Saber Strike 2018.

Latvia’s ports suffer freight volume decline in first five months of 2018

Latvian ports handled 27.072 million tonnes of freight in the first five months of this year, which is 7.5% less when compared to the same period of last year, according to data compiled by Transport Ministry.

Bicycle rickshaws in Tallinn will need safety belts from July

Seeking to regulate the provision of bicycle rickshaw services in the Estonian capital, the Tallinn City Council has is to more particular bicycle rickshaw regulations that would align the services closer to car taxis.

158 election sites to open in Riga during next Saeima elections

A total of 158 election sites are planned to be opened in Riga for this autumn’s Saeima elections, as confirmed by documents prepared by Riga City Council.

30% of Latvian residents are dissatisfied with their family’s financial state

Residents’ overall mood has declined considerably across all survey positions. Residents have become the most negative about Latvia’s economic situation – 31% of them believe it has worsened. When asked to voice their outlooks for Latvia’s economy in a year from now, 17% of respondents said it will have improved, according to results of Baltic International Bank’s latest Latvian Barometer.

Apple fined 5 million euros for customer rights violations in Australia

A court in Australia has ruled that U.S. tech firm Apple has to pay a fine of 5.7 million euros refusing to repair iPhones and iPads that had been serviced by third parties as those actions breached consumer law.

Latvian coalition still torn about attracting highly-qualified guest workers

Because of differences in opinions among ministries, Latvia’s government is unlikely to support and view the proposal to ease the issue of EU blue card to highly-qualified guest workers without appropriate higher education, says Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis.