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01/07/2014

Finland's planned Alcohol Act postponed indefinitely

Kristiina Hannula from EHYT ry, the Finnish Eurocare member, sees the latest development as steps in the wrong direction. “We are very disappointed on the recent decision to not finalize the started process of the alcohol act".

Stubb for Prime minister

Finland’s new Prime Minister, Doctor of Philosophy, Alexander Stubb (National Coalition Party) got elected on June 23rd. The former Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen (National Coalition Party) resigned in April and was named the European Commission’s Economic Commissioner.

Legislation overhaul overturned

A planned alcohol legislation overhaul was overturned by government parties last week, and the original schedule for the reform was postponed indefinitely. This means that sales restrictions on beer and the opening hours of licensed premises will remain as they are for the time being.

Kristiina Hannula from EHYT ry, the Finnish Eurocare member, sees the latest development as steps in the wrong direction. “We are very disappointed on the recent decision to not finalize the started process of the alcohol act. To put it mildly, it is weird that as the government aims to balance the public economy by harsh cutbacks, it refuses to touch the alcohol related costs, totalling altogether 6-7 billion euros a year”, Hannula comments.

However, the reformation of the Temperance Act continues and the Government's aim is to get the Act into force in 2015. The Act is to strengthen the role of municipalities in alcohol abuse prevention. Also the new legislation restricting advertising alcohol will enter into force in Finland at the beginning of 2015.

New surveys – Finns concerned about alcohol related harm

EHYT ry, the Association for Substance Abuse Prevention, recently conducted two studies in order to investigate attitudes towards substance abuse prevention among both business leaders and citizens. The findings present a substantial concern for alcohol related harm and strong expectations for more efficient prevention measures.

The studies also showed that opinions among Finns are somewhat divided on the regulation of alcohol. Half of the people surveyed do not consider the current regulations to be too strict, while 44 percent of respondents said that the availability and usage of alcohol is too tightly controlled.

Yet the majority (80%) of respondents considered Sunday availability of beer in grocery stores irrelevant. Likewise more than three quarters said they were indifferent to whether licensed establishments should be open until 3 or 4am. The surveys were carried out by TNS Global.