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How important is tackling alcohol related harm for the European Parliament?

The final plenary session (14th- 17th April)of the European Parliament (EP) took place in Strasbourg. The Parliament decided not to include the EU Alcohol Strategy resolution in its final discussions.

On the 10th March Members of the Environment Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee in the European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution calling on the European Commission to develop a new EU Alcohol Strategy. The public health community was delighted that the European Parliament acknowledged the urgent need to tackle alcohol related harm, however it was disappointed with the text of the resolution itself and suggested improvements.

The resolution which was scheduled for vote in the April EP plenary has unfortunately not made it to the final plenary agenda. Eurocare together with other public health organisations have contacted the political bureaus of the EP kindly asking for the resolution on this important topic to be included in the plenary agenda. Given, the fact that this was a final plenary with a lot of competing interest, one could argue that this should come as no surprise.

However, this should prompt a deeper reflection- how important is tackling alcohol related harm for the European politicians?

In a run up to the European elections Eurocare and its members as well as other public health organisations have sent out a questionnaire to the European political parties as well as letters, asking for their views and comments on alcohol policy.

The response has been hugely disappointing; so far we have only received a supportive reply from Martin Schulz from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D).

This coming month (22- 25 May 2014), the next elections to the European Parliament (EP) will take place. Eurocare hopes it will bring a more public health oriented Parliament which will put the health of their citizens before the profits of the alcohol industry.

Over the years Eurocare has been monitoring activities of the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in relation to alcohol policy.The forthcoming European elections will be 22 – 25 May 2014 if you would like to check how your candidate has performed in protecting public health over the last mandate please contact the Eurocare secretariat.