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Don't Have A Foreign Boy-Friend!

Penelope Wise
05 August, 2007

Brussels stands for 'ever closer union', but a court ruling that came into force across Europe last month severly restricts personal freedoms and reinforces national borders. How can this be?

It's all about tax, of course, a noted blind-spot of the EU. From now on, you can't send a gift to someone in another European country if it's excisable when it arrives: that means alcohol, perfume, ciggies, and anything else dutiable.

That's not quite what the law says, perhaps, but that's its effect. The European Court of Justice confirmed that goods which cross EU borders are only free of duty when they are purchased by private individuals for their own use and transported by them personally.

Mailing them or sending them by carrier doesn't count. So in future, if my Swedish boy-friend wants to send me a bottle of perfume for Christmas, he'll have to stick on one of those little green forms you use for sending things to Mongolia, and the postman will stand on my doorstep demanding six times the value of the perfume before I can have it.

What nonsense! It's obvious that Arne won't send me worthwhile gifts in future. He'll either come in person (well, perhaps that's not so bad) or send me something non-dutiable, like say a Swedish copy of Harry Potter. Great!

Who'd be a perfume manufacturer? Between the new postal rules and those vast containers full of impounded bottles you see nowdays at airports, perfume is close to being a banned substance. Who gets all those bottles, anyway? Security staff must be smelling of roses, at least.


About the Author

Penelope Wise

Penny Wise but not Pound Foolish! But remember: I am not offering investment advice. My comments are just for your general information; I do not recommend investments, and you should take professional advice before entering any investment contract.


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