EU Alcohol Strategy report debated
08 February 2016
The House of Lords debate the EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee’s report into the European Union Alcohol Strategy on Wednesday 10 February at 3.45pm.
Alcohol abuse is the third highest cause of disease and death in Europe, the world region with the highest alcohol consumption per head. The rate of liver-deaths in the UK has nearly quadrupled over the last 40 years.
The European Commission brought forward an EU Alcohol Strategy (2006-2012) in October 2006. The Strategy aimed to address the adverse health effects related to harmful alcohol consumption and highlighted priority areas for EU-level action for the period up to 2012.
The debate follows a Government response to the Committee's report which considered whether there should be a new EU Alcohol Strategy. The report was published on 6 March 2015. The Committee's main conclusions included:
- The 2006-12 strategy, while well-intentioned, did not concentrate on what the EU itself can act on. Consequently it achieved little. In developing any new action the EU should therefore concentrate on what it can do, over and above any initiatives the Member States can take on their own. In particular, the EU should ensure that its own policies contribute to the reduction of alcohol-related harm and excessive drinking.
- The current EU alcohol taxation regime prevents Member States from raising duties on the most harmful substances, and provides incentives to purchase drinks with higher alcohol contents. This illogical taxation structure must be reformed.
- The EU rules of food labelling must be amended to include alcoholic drinks. These labels should include, as a minimum, the strength, the calorie content, guidelines on safe drinking levels, and a warning about the dangers of drinking when pregnant. Voluntary commitments are not enough.
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