New alcohol bill raises fears of increased drinking
STOCKHOLM More outlets may be permitted to serve alcohol from this summer if a new alcohol proposal becomes law in Sweden. But public health minister Maria Larsson says the goal is to decrease the consumption of alcohol.
At a time when alcohol consumption is high, a Government proposal for a new alcohol bill is presented that makes it easier for restaurants, including sushi bars, to get alcohol licenses in future. The proposals are many and are applauded by the restaurant and hotel industry that feared restrictions.
For example, nightclubs can still be opened until five in the morning. Restaurateurs can start mix own flavoured liquor, tasting and testing alcohol at trade fairs and farms will be facilitated and catering companies can get permanent permission to serve alcohol. All of these regulatory reliefs the right-liberal Alliance government has endorsed.
• Drugnews: Has the Government taken more account of the alcohol industry interest than public health in the proposals?
- No, government guidance has been that public health's sake stick to a restrictive alcohol policy and the cause is to reduce overall consumption; it pervades the entire bill. But at the same time we want modernize and simplify the regulations, says Maria Larsson.
The temperance movement objects strongly to the proposals.
– One by one the proposals may seem harmless, but all together they will have a devastating effect and we are very disappointed. We don’t need more outlets, what we need is more alcohol-free environments, says Anna Carlstedt, chairman of the IOGT-NTO.
The Council on Legislation shall now first consider the bill before the Swedish parliament will decide.