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European Parliament adopts an amended report on the EU Strategy for Reducing Alcohol Related Harm

On 5 September 2007 members of the European Parliament adopted an amended report, prepared by Alessandro Foglietta, on the EU Strategy for Reducing Alcohol Related Harm.

Eurocare welcomes the report which has had a positive effect in sparking the debate among MEPs, and raised awareness of the harm caused by alcohol in Europe 17,000 deaths from road traffic accidents; 40% of all domestic violence; 25% of deaths among young people.

Dr Michel Craplet, chairman of Eurocare, welcomed the report, and said: “We are glad to see the support of the Parliament to the strategy proposed by the Commission and the to see that the report calls for some sound measures to be taken by member states to reduce the toll of alcohol related harm such as limiting the access to and availability of alcoholic drinks to young people; particularly focusing on alcoholic beverages such as alcopops and promoting a 0% BAC level for novice drivers".

Nevertheless, he stressed Eurocare's disappointment with the rejection of the calls for health warning labels to be placed on alcohol beverage containers1(especially concerning pregnant women), the failure to adopt measures aimed at restricting the exposure of minors to alcohol advertising2, and the strong support for self regulation which has proved to be quite ineffective.

He also echoed a concern voiced by a number of MEPs regarding the aggressive lobbying of the alcohol industry.

Media contacts:
Michel Craplet
Tel: +33142335104

Andrew McNeill,
Honorary Secretary
Tel: + 44 1480 466766

Eurocare EU Liaison Office
Tel: +32 2 736 39 76


1. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is the leading known cause of birth defects and mental retardation in the EU. It affects about 1% of people in the EU27 (i.e. nearly 5 million people) and is the only one that is 100%preventable. Although many pregnant women abstain from alcohol, there are still a substantial number of women in all the EU Member States who continue to drink during pregnancy- ranging from 25% in Spain to 35%-50% in the Netherlands and rates as high as 80 % in Ireland or 70% in the UK. These figures show a lack of awareness of the risks associated with to pre natal alcohol exposure. Indeed, the introduction of such health warning labels on alcohol beverage containers across the EU, coupled with general population health education awareness projects would have been effective to help to curb the incidence and prevalence of FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders).

2. The use of elements such as humour, rock music, animation, celebrity endorsement or animal characters, make these adverts very appealing to teenagers, who most frequently mention the, as their favourites. Increasingly, this has become a cause of concern, as a growing body of research shows that exposure to, and enjoyment of such commercials causes minors to develop more positive expectancies and attitudes towards alcohol. This in turn influences the onset of drinking age, as well as patterns and levels of alcohol consumption.

Legal limits on advertising are recommended by the World Health Organisation as being among the least expensive and most efficient policy measures that exist to protect minors.