EuroHealthNet welcomes call by health ministers for EU alcohol strategy

The decision by EU health ministers on 7 December to call upon the Commission to bring forward a comprehensive EU strategy during 2016, including the possibility to introduce mandatory labelling of ingredients and nutrition information, has been welcomed by EuroHealthNet, the partnership organisation of agencies for improving health and social equity in the EU.

In June EuroHealthNet members unanimously passed a resolution at their General Assembly calling for this action. Its national and regional agencies and experts have been supporting governments in their preparation of Council Conclusions. EuroHealthNet is a participant in the EU Joint Action ‘’RARHA” aimed at reducing alcohol related harm, which provides comparable information, facilitates practice sharing and fosters consensus between states.

To coincide with this decision by ministers, EuroHealthNet is publishing an edition of its Policy Precis series on the link between alcohol policy developments and social inequality concerns (available here). It highlights the growing direct health impacts of the third ranked cause of death in the EU, but also the societal damage through factors such as age, gender, ethnicity and social-cultural backgrounds. The economic impacts from loss of productivity, violence and crime are stressed with particular relevance for priority EU objectives of growth and cohesion.

The publication highlights important recent developments including the Action Plan on Youth Drinking and Heavy Binge Drinking plus WHO action plans, which ministers want the EC to support further. A crucial final decision is awaited in the ECJ concerning minimum alcohol pricing policies, but EuroHealthNet hopes and expects the ruling will confirm the Advocate General opinion that states may use that mechanism in appropriate circumstances as part of fiscal measures.

EuroHealthNet has set up a group of experts from among its members who can share and contribute learning and innovative approaches, but also link with social and economic organisations to tackle multiple impacts. Examples from local, municipal and regional communities and authorities will be particularly welcomed as tangible ways which may be scaled up to offer EU added value or provide inspiration.

EuroHealthNet Policy Director Clive Needle said “We congratulate ministers and officials for agreeing to act with urgency, not only in their own states but in cooperation, and to demand resources and support from across the European Commission, not only its specific health officials and Commissioner. We have seen how alcohol related problems have risen in importance in the last decade. The EU has unique levers and instruments it should bring to bear, which are well within its legal competences, from labelling and marketing to wellbeing at work or when people travel. We will work wherever we can to help support and inform these positive processes.’’

 

  • For further information please contact EuroHealthNet HPE Manager  Anne Pierson
  • More information on EuroHealthNet website here
  • To access EuroHealthNet Policy Precis on alcohol, click here
  • EuroHealthNet is part of RARHA, funded by the European Union under the second EU Health Programme, is a 3 years action aiming at supporting Member States to take forward work on common priorities in line with the EU Alcohol Strategy and strengthen Member States’ capacity to address and reduce the harm associated with alcohol.  www.rarha.eu
  • Access to the last edition of the RARHA newsletter here