Baltic states declare war on alcohol
Nowhere in the world is alcohol consumed in such great quantities as in Lithuania, according to a recent report by the World Health Organisation. In a counteroffensive the Lithuanian governing coalition wants to reduce alcohol consumption through various bans. In neighbouring Latvia, where similar quantities of alcohol are consumed, the sale of alcohol in two-litre bottles is to be banned as of 2020. Baltic media see little sense in the measures.
Proposals won't solve the problem
Banning the sale of alcoholic beverages in larger bottles in Latvia won't solve the problem, Neatkarīgā warns:
“Alcoholics simply need their dose. Changing the size of the packaging won't prevent them from consuming a certain volume of alcohol. Instead of buying one 2-litre bottle they'll buy two 1-litre bottles. Because the smaller packaging won't make alcohol so expensive that alcoholics decide to go without their usual dose. … The MPs' decision isn't based on any studies that prove the effectiveness of such a measure. They simply believe that the 1-litre bottle will have a positive impact on the citizens' health.”
Lithuania loves bans
With its measures aimed at reducing alcohol consumption Lithuania's ruling Peasant and Green Union (LPGU) party is targeting citizens who are critical of the government, Lrt radio commentator Ramūnas Bogdanas suspects:
“Behind the alcohol bans and the [parallel] efforts to restrict freedom of opinion lies a strategy aimed at flattering the lumpenprotelariat and defanging critics. The ruling politicians probably think that the lumpenprotelariat makes up the majority; that musicians, journalists and business people can be swatted away like annoying flies, thus silencing their accusations. By banning alcohol in bars the government wants to restrict people's freedom, force them to leave so that they no longer can no longer prevent the country from being turned into a police state. But the planned restrictions won't affect those who guzzle down the drink they've just bought outside the store. Because the government wants to be surrounded by obedient idiots. Then Lithuania, the land of bans, will thrive.”