Lithuania's battle against alcohol abuse
A new law came into force in Lithuania on January 1 making alcohol consumption illegal under the age of 20 and toughening the regulations governing the sale of alcoholic beverages. In the eyes of Lithuanian commentators this is not an effective way to combat the Lithuanians' excessive drinking habits and is in fact bad for the country.
A slap in the face for young people
For young people the new law is like an undeserved slap in the face, political scientist Viktor Denisenko writes in Lietuvos žinios:
“Young people aged between 18 and 20 now have another reason to leave the country. Not because they can no longer buy beer but because the state is humiliating them by limiting the rights of those who have come of age. The law could also convince older citizens to leave because today's state, with its mild but absurd authoritarianism, is now interfering in other areas too. ... Let's hope young people will think more seriously about their voting rights and participate more actively in the political process.”
Useful for alcohol tourism and smugglers
The policies of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union are bad for the country's economy, Delfi fumes in view of the new law:
“Poland lowered the alcohol tax for small breweries last year because small businesses are a priority for the country. And what is our government's priority? Sobriety? Nonsense. ... Alcohol smuggling from Belarus and Russia will only increase as a result of the Union's sobriety programme. And alcohol tourism to Poland and Latvia will continue to grow.”