Finland will be the first EU member state to levy a tax on sugary foods and beverages, despite fierce opposition from the industry.
The Social Affairs and Health Committee of the Finnish Parliament announced on Tuesday that it had reached a consensus. The tax is intended to address a surge in type 2 diabetes, with soft drinks being seen as a major source of sugar.
The tax is intended to replace an existing tax on sweets and ice cream, which the European Commission believes unfairly favours domestic producers.
Although the government backs the introduction of the tax, Finance Minister Petteri Orpo is concerned about implementation.
An attempt to introduce a similar tax in 2012-2013 failed in monitoring the implementation and measuring the effect on consumption.
One of the issues the food and beverage sector is raising is the technical difficulty of distinguishing between goods with “natural” and “added sugar.” Although the EU has introduced new labeling regulation, the industry insists it is difficult to distinguish.
As Finland is having a second go at it, the rest of Europe will be watching with interest.