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Thursday, March 29, 2007

An alcoholic nation

By Lauren Escher / The New Presence
Republished with permission, 29 March 2007

The Good Soldier Švejk (The protagonist of Czech author Jaroslav Hašek's novel) once famously noted that any government that raises the price of beer is destined to collapse within one year. It is a superstition that even totalitarian governments dared not forget. Today's Czech authorities appear to be no different.

In November 2006, both the Czech Republic and Germany blocked the passage of a proposed 31% increase in the minimum EU duty on beer and spirits. This would have added 1 cent to the price of a half liter (17 fluid ounces) of beer. According to Vlastimil Tlustý, the current Czech Finance Minister speaking in Brussels at a press conference on 28th November 2006, "We Czechs believe that beer is a part of food. We cannot agree that such a typical Czech product be put at a disadvantage."


Source: Robin G. W. Room KBS-LIST