Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Wednesday, 20 October 2004

At last! EU to sue UK over heavy-handed customs

It seems that the EU may launch court action in the European Courts of Justice against the UK for the heavy-handed manner in which our Customs & Excise deal with those returning from trips to other EU countries with significant quantities of alcohol and tobacco, an activity made worthwhile (and sensible and legal) because of the much higher duty rates here than in many of our EU neigbours, coupled with the coming into existence some years ago of the Single European Area, which is supposed to allow for the free movement of people and goods throughout participating countries.

Whilst there are some limitations on what may be brought across borders by individuals, it is pretty clear that the UK authorities are flouting not only the spirit, but the letter, of the regulations - purely as a way of protecting tax revenue regimes which are wildly different from countries such as France and Belgium. It is time that the UK government was forced to face up to the implications of the Single European Act and stop seizing innocent people's cars and goods when they return from perfectly legitimate shopping trips.

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