Members of parliament in Finland protest against alcohol law
Members of parliament (MPs) from the governing coalition have voiced strong opposition to the draft of a new alcohol law. 28 MPs have endorsed a statement urging the government to take into consideration critical consultation contribution. Almost two thirds of all submission during the consultation period have been critical about the proposed law. Among the signatories of the statement are 14 MPs of the Center Party, as well as MPs from other government parties.
About 70% of all consultation submission have been critical against the draft bill, according to an analysis conducted by Yles news. Biggest criticism has been directed at the proposal to allow sale of higher percentage (5.5% ABV) alcohol in ordinary stores. Finland, like Sweden, Iceland and Norway has a government-run retail monopoly to prevent and reduce alcohol harm in the country.
The draft bill is set to become a matter of consciousness when MPs proceed to vote on it in parliament. Future Minister for Family and Welfare Annika Saariko (Center party) has said that votes about alcohol regulations have often been matters of consciousness. She thinks it’s likely that parliament will take up the matter first this autumn, even if it is scheduled for spring already. The draft bill is contentious as there is an attempt to roll back some of the most cost-effective and evidence-based measures protecting society from alcohol harm.