Willamette World News

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Drinking around the Finnish Gulf

heiki copy.jpg A constant issue deeply embedded in both Estonian and Finnish culture is our unhealthy relationship to alcohol. According to BBC,

Heavy drinking is widespread in Estonia, which comes near the top of European Union rankings for alcohol consumption. On average each Estonian drinks 12 liters of pure alcohol each year and every year they are drinking more. Experts say alcohol kills between 1,500 and 2,000 people a year in Estonia which is one of the EU’s smallest member states.

This problem is not only local but also has effects abroad, mostly in Finland. The EU’s fundamental freedoms of free movement of goods and people allow thousands of Finns to take ferries to Tallinn (the capital of Estonia) and take advantage of the low alcohol prices there.

When Estonia joined the EU in 2004, the Finns, worried that people would travel to Tallinn to buy cheap liquor, cut their own alcohol tax by more than 30%. But the plan did not work because the Finns just started drinking more. Hundreds of thousands of them catch the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn and return home with crates of inexpensive boozes.
In the last three years there has been a sharp rise in alcohol-related problems and crimes in Finland and drinking has become the country’s number one cause of death among adults.

In my view, this development just shows how interdependent this small world of ours has become. Read more at BBC website.

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