news: SWEDEN

Less is more

SWEDEN IS due to launch an advertising campaign to try to convince the EU that Scandinavia’s restrictive alcohol policies produce health benefits.

Sweden’s state controlled alcohol retail system is at odds with EU free trade rules, due to their system of shops with shorter opening hours and higher prices than in most other EU countries. As a result, alcohol consumption in Sweden is relatively low.

The alcohol retail monopoly says it is concerned about the drinking habits in the rest of the EU and so has launched their Europe wide print and internet advertising campaign aiming straight at the top.

Appealing to the president of the EU, José Manuel Durão Barroso, the campaign title reads: “Dear Mr Barroso, here’s why you should seriously consider cutting down on drinking”. It then quotes figures from the World Health Organisation, showing alcohol-related problems in Europe now cost some 200 billion euros a year.

However, after alcohol import restrictions within the EU were removed, alcohol consumption increased in Sweden, the campaign argues. Critics say the Swedish ad campaign is a pre-emptive strike against the commission, which is expected to act in some form against the Swedish system soon.