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Slovenia to Introduce Excise Duty on Soft Drinks, Serbia May Follow Suit

Published on Oct 30 2014 1:33 PM in Drinks

Slovenia to Introduce Excise Duty on Soft Drinks, Serbia May Follow Suit

Slovenia's Ministry of Health has announced it will introduce excise duty on beverages containing added sugar and other additives in 2015, with part of the revenue going to health care programmes and education about healthy eating.

In motivating its decision, the government cited research by the WHO from 2010 that showed that young Slovenians aged up to 15 years old were the first in Europe in terms of consumption of soft drinks, which are the cause of obesity and increase the risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and dyslipidemia.

The decision of the Slovenian government, which should bring the state budget an additional income of €8 million a year, has caused public controversy. Some believe that younger consumers, due to higher prices of soft drinks, will switch to beer and other alcoholic beverages, while others claim that the new excise tax is aimed solely at increasing government revenues. Slovenia's two main industrial chambers believe the measure will represent a heavy burden for the sector, which has already seen its sales drop over the past years. Soft drink producers have also pointed out that such a measure is "discriminative", as they are not the only industry that uses sugar.

Reacting to such criticism, the Ministry explained that part of the revenue from excise taxes on sugary drinks will be redirected to health care and prevention programmes. C onsumers, especially young people, will also be encouraged to reduce the consumption of unhealthy products in favour of healthy foods and beverages, including plain drinking water and mineral water. In Serbia there is also talk of the introduction of an excise tax on fizzy drinks as one of the measures for reducing the budget deficit. The Ministry of Finance is considering the possibility of adding an excise stamp on each bottle/can of soft drinks that will cost RSD 1-2 (€0.01). The measure would not apply to producers of mineral water.

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