Domestic Excise Duties and the “Specific Purposes” Test: A Quasi-Harmonization Tale

Similar to the VAT Directive (2006/112), the Excise Directive (2008/118) aims to harmonize excise duties on alcohol, tobacco and energy products within the European Union. For this reason, domestic excise duties on such goods are prohibited unless they pursue “specific purposes”. This article explores the parameters established by the ECJ in assessing the compatibility of domestic excise duties with EU law from the standpoint of the “specific purposes” concept as enshrined in the Excise Directive.