EU health ministers have formally called on the European Commission to launch a comprehensive EU strategy dedicated to the reduction of alcohol-related harm by the end of 2016, following a similar request from the European Parliament in April.
The last EU-wide alcohol programme officially ended in 2012 and has not been replaced.
Ministers said the strategy should tackle the health, social and economic consequences of the harmful use of alcohol and focus on initiatives with a cross-border dimension.
The Council also called upon member states and the Commission to consider the possibility of introducing mandatory labelling of ingredients and a nutrition declaration, in particular of the energy value, of alcohol beverages.
“To act against the harmful use of alcohol is our duty”, said Lydia Mutsch, Minister for Health of Luxembourg and President of the Council, adding: “The Luxembourg presidency wholeheartedly backs the calls of ministers for health, but also of the European Parliament, for a new EU alcohol strategy.”
Members of the European Parliament passed a resolution in April calling on the European Commission to come forward with a new strategy.
Amongst the new measures listed in the resolution, MEPs called for support for member states on collecting reliable data and running communication campaigns on drink driving as well as asking the European Commission to consider EU-wide labelling alerting consumers to the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol.
ETSC strongly supports the call and for better coordination between the European Commission’s Health (SANTE), Transport (MOVE) and Industry (GROWTH) departments to tackle drink driving.