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Drink to that!

13 December 2006 / Timothy Lyons
Issue: 4088 / Categories: Comment & Analysis
The European Court of Justice was bereft of Christmas spirit in its recent decision in Staatssecretaris van Financiën v Joustra, as TIMOTHY LYONS QC explains.

RETAILERS ALWAYS WANT a good Christmas. So does the Chancellor. They were both given an early present by the European Court of Justice this year. Customers and taxpayers want to share in the Christmas spirit too of course. But they know how the world goes round. It is hard enough to find a present to satisfy business and the tax collector. To find one which satisfies customers and taxpayers as well is probably close to impossible. Certainly Santa Claus did not manage it this year.
It all looked so encouraging for the customers. They had asked for lower excise duty rates for Christmas. Santa's little helper in the form of the Advocate General had advised that their request be granted at least to some extent. But then it went to the third chamber of the grotto and on 23 November 2006 three...

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