Saeima nays booze buying age limit raise

In the second reading on May 9, the Saeima supported several amendments aimed at reducing alcohol consumption but rejected raising age limit for buying booze from 18 to 20.

As previously decided by the Saeima Commission, the majority of deputies supported that:

  • alcohol may be sold between 10:00 and 20:00 on working days and Saturdays, and between 10:00 and 18:00 on Sundays;
  • the labeling of alcoholic beverages will be required to indicate the nutritional value and chemical composition of the beverages;
  • advertising of alcohol prices and discounts in retail outlets selling alcoholic beverages (including distance contracts on the website and mobile app), press releases, printed advertising publications, and publications for consumers, cinemas, websites, and online, as well as by postal services will be prohibited;
  • alcohol will not be banned from marketing on the Internet, but distance sales will be restricted to at least six hours between ordering and receiving the drink.

In addition, the Saeima supported the initiative of the Ministry of Health to prevent the marketing of small volumes – less than 0.2 liters in packaging – of alcoholic beverages with a strength of more than 22 degrees.

However, the Saeima did not support the proposal, previously supported by the committee, to raise the age limit for buying alcohol from 18 to 20 years. This was argued against by some parliamentarians, and the vote was also far from unanimous: 38 MPs supported raising the age limit, 25 were against, and 23 abstained.

The amendments have been on the table since April of 2023, and they must still be viewed in the third reading to come into force.

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