Public awareness of the health impacts of alcohol vary widely across Europe according to a new survey, adding to existing divisions between member states on tax, taste and marketing as policymakers seek to revitalise Europe's common alcohol strategy.
A re-think of the EU's alcohol strategy, due in 2013, will focus on stronger health warnings to consumers, the European Commission's health policy chief has told EurActiv in an interview. But the industry will first be given a chance to self-regulate.
The chief of strategy at the European Commission's health and consumer protection directorate (DG Sanco) tells EurActiv that the forthcoming overhaul of its alcohol strategy will probably not come before the end of the year, but it will be on the agenda of the Cypriot presidency.
Leading producers from the beer, wine and spirits sectors are set today (16 April) to launch their first joint initiative in advertising self-regulation designed to combat abuses across the fast-growing social media.
Alcohol abuse does not require over-regulation to be addressed. A voluntary approach through informing consumers of health risks has yielded results and should be pursued further, argues Pierre-Olivier Bergeron.
The European Commission is more favourable to raising taxes on alcohol over setting a minimum price level following intense debate in Britain over Prime Minister David Cameron's proposed crackdown on binge drinking, a Commission official told EurActiv.
There is no surprise that EU Health officials are not listening to tobacco retailers and the tobacco industry, smoking costs the EU the equivalent of its budget each year, according to three public health campaigners.
As drinks companies sign up to new guidelines for Internet marketing, the spirits industry told EurActiv in an interview that self-regulation is quicker than legislation and insists the industry has no interest in marketing its products to young people.