De Europese Commissie is juridische procedures gestart tegen Spanje en Groot-Brittannië. Beide landen hinderen burgers van de Europese Unie bij het aankopen van alcohol en tabak in andere lidstaten. Mensen die enkel aankopen doen voor eigen verbruik, mogen niet gehinderd worden, zo oordeelt de Commissie.
The European Commission has decided to send formal requests for information to Spain and the United Kingdom about their application of EU law relating to excise duties and cross-border shopping. The Commission is concerned that the practices of these two Member States may jeopardise the right of all EU citizens to buy goods in other Member States, excise duty paid, and to bring these products home for their own use without any formalities and without having to pay taxes a second time. In the case of Spain, the Commission is concerned that the authorities are imposing unjustified restrictions and requirements on private individuals wishing to leave the country with cigarettes that they have bought there, duty paid. In the case of the United Kingdom, the request concerns the UK policy of seizing goods even for minor offences and follows on two earlier letters (see IP/01/1482 and IP/02/1320). The Commission is concerned that these sanctions may be disproportionate to the gravity of the offence and be an obstacle to the free movement of excise goods in the Internal Market. Both requests take the form of ‘letters of formal notice’ under the infringement procedures laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. The UK and Spain are asked to reply within two months.