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Alcohol consumption by minors - EP demands action


11 Mar 2014


Health & Consumers
The European Parliament has demanded a concrete Action Plan against alcohol consumption by minors. The Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety adopted a Resolution on the European strategy against the abuse of alcohol consumption by minors, co-authored by Romana Jordan MEP on March 10 2014. In the Resolution, the EP calls on the European Commission to present the Action Plan with concrete measures by September this year.
"Citizens in Europe consume the most alcohol per capita in the world (over one fifth of the European population aged 15 years and above reporting heavy episodic drinking, five or more drinks on an occasion, at least once a week). Excessive alcohol consumption and abuse of alcohol have severe consequences for individuals and society as a whole. For example, individuals are facing increased risk factors for a broad range of diseases, their families are threatened, especially children. Alcohol abuse has a number of societal impacts, from health to employment and social policies. I am happy that the Environment Committee has sent a clear signal to the European Commission for a more determined, efficient, and up-to-date action", highlighted Jordan.
In the Resolution, the EP calls on the Commission to begin work on the new EU Alcohol Strategy for the period 2016-2022 and to present the Action Plan with concrete measures. Member States must increase their efforts to inform the general public, particularly minors and pregnant women, on the harmful effects of alcohol. They must better implement the current restrictions on alcohol advertising. Measures to restrict alcohol sales to those under the legal age for purchase must be strengthened, as well as actions to properly regulate cross-border sales of alcohol on the internet. It is important that Member States increase their efforts to raise awareness on the dangers of binge drinking for minors in order to reduce traffic accidents related to alcohol consumption. Overall information and data collection on alcohol abuse and related societal consequences need to be reinforced.
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 274 Members from 27 Member States.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Report on the situation in the field of alcohol and health in 35 European countries in 2013 points out that residents of the European region consume the most alcohol per capita in the world. Harmful and hazardous alcohol consumption has a major impact on public health because it creates risk factors for acute illnesses such as liver disease, cardiovascular diseases and cancer, and also generates costs related to health care, health insurance, law enforcement, public policy and workplaces, and thus has a negative impact on the economic development. One of the main causes of premature death and chronic diseases is harmful alcohol consumption, which can be avoided. It is estimated that the associated costs in the EU amount to 125 billion Eur. Drinking patterns vary in different Member States, but everywhere there is a growing trend of binge drinking by minors. In 2006 the European Commission adopted the "EU Strategy to support Member States in reducing alcohol-related
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