The European Commission today announced its conclusion that Ireland's sugar-sweetened drinks tax does not involve state aid, and that the measure's scope and design are consistent with the health objectives of addressing obesity and other sugar-related diseases.
As noted in today’s EC release, Ireland in February 2018 notified the EC of its plans to introduce a sugar-sweetened drinks tax with the aim of obtaining legal certainty that the measure did not involve any state aid within the meaning of EU rules. In particular, the Irish tax will apply to soft drinks—i.e. water- and juice-based beverages containing added sugar with a sugar content of 5 grams or more.
The EC found that soft drinks can be treated differently to other sugary products in view of health objectives, and that soft drinks are particularly liable to lead to overconsumption and represent a higher risk of obesity, also compared to other sugary drinks and solid food. On this basis, the EC concluded that the scope of the Irish sugar-sweetened drinks tax and its overall design are consistent with the health objectives pursued and does not unduly distort competition.
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