Swedish opposition challenges alcohol monopoly
The parties of the conservative opposition in Sweden want to allow winegrowers and small breweries to sell their own alcoholic beverages on their property. The proposal would undermine the EU-approved Swedish special provision that gives the state-run enterprise Systembolaget a monopoly on sales of alcoholic beverages. Sweden's media clash over the plan.
The monopoly must end
Svenska Dagbladet praises the initiative and has harsh words for Systembolaget:
“A growing number of politicians agree that the monopoly isn't just harmful to the quality of life, but also to agricultural and entrepreneurial development. The fact that the politicians are now coming to their senses has irked Systembolaget, which has launched expensive PR and lobbying campaigns to dissuade the MPs from their plans. ... That rebuts the final argument for the monopoly's existence, namely that it's an expression of the popular will. Apparently Systembolaget sees it as its duty to misuse taxpayers' money to manipulate the political process.”
Don't water down the laws
The conservative opposition's plans set off alarm bells at Aftonbladet:
“Cosy little vineyards would soon look like the border shops in Puttgarden [a mall run by the Scandlines ferries service]. Not least, the consequences for alcohol consumption and public health would be considerable. More children will grow up in families of alcoholics, more people will drink themselves to death, more will be abused. The conservatives know all this. ... Instead of conducting a frank debate they talk about farm shops. If this goes through Sweden's alcohol policy will destroy itself in the end, with the help of watered-down legislation, EU regulations and the free market. Cheers!”