Greece’s appeal to set a lower excise tax on two of the country’s traditional alcoholic beverages has been rejected by Europe’s top court.

Greece had set taxes on tsipouro and tsikoudia at half the rate of that being levied on imported alcoholic beverages – a move that the European Commission claimed was a breach of European Unions laws.

In addition to the lower tax rate, small distillers of the beverages also had a reduced rate of around six per cent, reports Kathimerini.

The European Commission took legal action against Greece at the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) in February 2017, claiming that lowering taxes for the local beverages indirectly protects them from competition posed by similar imported beverages. The court agreed, ruling in the Commission’s favour.