(VILNIUS) – Legal drinking age would be increased to 20 years-old in Lithuania and further alcohol selling hours restrictions would be introduced, the country’s parliament (Seimas) agreed on Thursday.
The parliament passed amendments to the Law on Alcohol Control, which provides the raise of minimum allowed drinking age from the current 18 to 20, and restricting alcohol selling hours from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.
The parliament also approved a total ban on alcohol advertizing.
However, this is not the final decision as the final voting will take place at the parliament next week. After the final vote, the law will have to be approved by the President Dalia Grybauskaite who also has a veto right.
The current decisions have triggered wide discussions and controversial opinions in Lithuania.
“Let’s be determined and consistent, the proposed decisions will bring positive outcome. The law will protect hundreds and thousands of people from death at the roads, violence within families and suicides,” Ramunas Karbauskis, the leader of ruling Lithuanian Peasants and Greens Union (LZVS) told lawmakers.
In recent years, Lithuania’s authorities have been considering measures aimed at restricting access of alcohol, due to concerns over alcohol abuse in the Baltic country.
Currently, Lithuania restricts alcohol selling hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. According to the existing law, alcohol is not sold on Sept. 1, the first official day of new school year.