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19/10/2007

Eurocare welcomes the improved public health article in the Reform Treaty

19 October, Lisbon, Portugal. EU leaders on 19 October agreed on a final text of the new EU Treaty at an informal summit in Lisbon. The new Treaty to be formally signed off on 13 December in the Portuguese capital will subsequently be ratified next year, with a view to coming into place by mid-2009, ahead of the next European elections.

The new Treaty will for the first time mention alcohol in its new paragraph 5 of the article on Public Health:

"5. The European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure and after consulting the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee, may also adopt incentive measures designed to protect and improve human health and in particular to combat the major cross-border health scourges, measures concerning monitoring, early warning of and combating serious cross-border threats to health, and measures which have as their direct objective the protection of public health regarding tobacco and the abuse of alcohol, excluding any harmonisation of the laws and regulations of the Member States.";

Eurocare welcomes the improved public health article and the reference to alcohol. By identifying cooperation in reducing alcohol related problems in the Treaty, the EU shows that the concerns about alcohol related harm in Europe is today shared by all Member State governments. This is a significant step given that Europe is the biggest producer of alcohol in the world. Eurocare is confident that the EU is sincere in its efforts to reduce alcohol related harm, in particular among young people and innocent third parties while respecting the cultural differences in Europe and “the responsibilities of the Member States for the definition of their health policy”. Eurocare expects the new public health article will lend support to the recent Alcohol Strategy by giving its objectives to reduce alcohol related harm greater authority and momentum at EU level.

Final text of the reform Treaty

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/igcpdf/en/07/cg00/cg00014.en07.pdf

Amended article on Public health

http://www.epha.org/IMG/pdf/Article_176E_LT_200710_final.pdf