Fit for Recovery
As economies and societies all over Europe reopen following the long months of the COVID-19 lockdown, spiritsEUROPE has been vocal in calling for support for our members, in particular for craft distilleries and SMEs, and for the millions of jobs our sector supports.
In order to best communicate the spiritsEUROPE position – both speaking of the impact of the lockdown on our sector and outlining the specific policy proposals we recommend to help our sector recover, we have produced an infographic, which we were delighted to see the Politico EU Influence newsletter “launch” in Brussels.
Of course, we have been even more heartened to see our membership across the EU integrate the infographic into their communication and government outreach – and indeed to see governments introduce favourable policies to protect our colleagues in the hospitality and tourism sectors; sectors without whom our sector would be considerably weaker.
The impact of the lockdown on the spirits sector is considerable – the effective collapse of the HoReCa sector, complete fall off in visitor numbers at all our major tourist attractions, the closure of the travel retail sector – but spirits producers across Europe have put their shoulders to the wheel and stepped up for their local communities. Although many distilleries faced unclear futures, they converted their production from spirits to hand sanitizer, or ensured that the wages of hospitality employees were guaranteed as we all stayed at home.
It is clear now, however, that the spirits sector cannot survive and return to pre-crisis levels without governmental support – so we’ve surmised our main asks into three simple requests:
- Reductions of VAT for our friends in the hospitality and tourism sectors, helping them back on their feet following this crisis;
- Deferments of excise payments – particularly for SMEs such as craft distillers – allowing them to weather this storm;
- Continued efforts to resolve trade disputes – in particular with our largest export markets – ensuring our high-quality products are enjoyed all over the world.
As always, the strongest advocacy is when we all work together. The next few months will be difficult, but the courageous steps and broad range of support measures taken by the EU and governments across Europe so far are a hugely encouraging sign.
*In his capacity as permanent representative of SPRL ADLOR Consulting