Fat Taxes in the European Union between Fiscal Austerity and the Fight Against Obesity

European Journal of Risk Regulation, Issue 4, 2011

10 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2011

See all articles by Alberto Alemanno

Alberto Alemanno

HEC Paris - Tax & Law

Ignacio Carreno

FratiniVergano-European Lawyers

Date Written: October 18, 2011


To discourage unhealthy eating and limit the population’s intake of fatty foods, an increasing number of countries across the the European Union is considering levying taxes on unhealthy food. This essay provides a brief analysis of the genesis, rationale and legal implications of these national ‘fat tax’ schemes by focusing in particular on the measures recently implemented in Denmark and Hungary. It focuses in particular on the legality of these product-specific taxes under EU and WTO law and explores whether the EU might validly consider to adopt a EU-wide fat tax in the light of the considerable geographic variation of obesity prevalence in the EU and its limited competence in both the health and tax areas. Those issues are particularly sensitive in the aftermath of the Political Declaration on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) adopted by the UN General Assembly on September 18, 2011.

Keywords: Fat Tax, Risk Regulation, Lifestyle Risk, Non Communicable diseases, EU Law, Paternalism, Theories of Justice, Nudge

JEL Classification: I18, K23, K32, K33, K34, K42, L51, L66

Suggested Citation

Alemanno, Alberto and Carreno, Ignacio, Fat Taxes in the European Union between Fiscal Austerity and the Fight Against Obesity (October 18, 2011). European Journal of Risk Regulation, Issue 4, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1945804

Alberto Alemanno (Contact Author)

HEC Paris - Tax & Law ( email )

1 rue de la Libération
Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, 78351

Ignacio Carreno

FratiniVergano-European Lawyers ( email )

1040 Etterbeek
Rue de Haerne 42
0032 2 6482161 (Phone)
0032 2 6460270 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.fratinivergano.eu

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