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Sweden, the EU and the alcohol traveller’s allowances
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD).
2010 (English)In: Contemporary Drug Problems, ISSN 0091-4509, Vol. 37, no 1, 3--38 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Restrictive alcohol policies have a long history at the national level in Sweden; however, with the accession to the European Union the international component of alcohol policy has become clearer, and the national policies have been eroded. Sweden had to abandon low traveller’s allowances and gradually adopt the considerably higher European levels by January 1, 2004. On the EU level the traveller’s allowances were an issue long before Sweden’s accession, and high allowances were a conscious way of forcing down high taxes as an instrument of harmonization. The purpose of the article is to analyze how the changes and the Swedish government’s actions on the traveller’s allowances issue have been understood. Analyzing this case contributes to understanding the major changes that have occurred in Swedish alcohol policy since the mid-1990s. Different narratives from interviews, official documents, and news articles make it possible to understand alcohol policy developments in Sweden in relation to the EU. The article finds that there are five main narratives which have been used to try to explain the development of the traveller’s allowances question: the Misinterpretation Explanation, the Double Accounts Explanation, the Impotence Explanation, the Humility Explanation, and the Optimism Explanation. The article also shows that the different narratives have developed over time, indicating a learning process among Swedish authorities on the functioning of EU policy processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 37, no 1, 3--38 p.
Keyword [en]
Sweden, alcohol, EU, traveller's allowances, narratives
National Category
Political Science Sociology
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-52414OAI: diva2:387360
Available from: 2011-01-14 Created: 2011-01-14 Last updated: 2012-09-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Europeanization of Swedish Alcohol Policy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Europeanization of Swedish Alcohol Policy
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this dissertation is to study the Europeanization of Swedish alcohol policy from 1995-2006. It analyses the development of Swedish and European alcohol policy and answers the following research questions: How has alcohol policy developed on the national and the EU level during this period? What are the Swedish alcohol policy initiatives on the EU level? What does the interplay between Swedish and European policy processes look like? Of interest for this dissertation is also how the Swedish view on alcohol policy has been received on EU level.

The dissertation comprises four related articles and an introductory chapter. In the articles official documents and interviews are analyzed in the context of the literature on Europeanization, using the concepts framing, narrative and new modes of governance. Article I explores the history of negotiations between Sweden and the EU on the traveller’s allowances question. Article II and III analyse how Swedish authorities, first through research and later through formal policy-making during the Swedish Presidency, tried to reframe alcohol on the EU-level. Finally, the fourth article is a comparative analysis of the Nordic retail monopolies, analyzing how the monopolies have developed and reacted to national and international pressures on their activities.

The dissertation shows that Swedish authorities have influenced the EU level by putting alcohol on the agenda, and offered pressure and economic support to make sure that alcohol as a public health question has become and been kept as a prioritized question. This development is, however, nested inside the changing scope and emphasis of the EU. The emergence of a European alcohol policy as a public health-oriented process has been made possible through a new focus on the EU level, with increased cooperation between member states and a trend toward harmonization of policy and frames when it comes to alcohol.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Statsvetenskapliga institutionen, 2009. 84 p.
Stockholm studies in politics, ISSN 0346-6620 ; 128Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs, ISSN 1650-819X ; 8
Alcohol policy, Sweden, EU, Europeanization, public health, new modes of governance, framing, narrative
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8411 (URN)978-91-7155-748-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-01-30, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8 C, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2009-01-08 Created: 2009-01-08 Last updated: 2015-01-13Bibliographically approved

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Cisneros Örnberg, Jenny
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