EESC opinion: European Strategy on alcohol-related harm

Key points:

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomes the Communication from the Commission, An EU strategy to support Member States in reducing alcohol related harm. However, the EESC regrets that the Communication falls far short of a "comprehensive strategy" which was invited in the Council Conclusions of 5 June 2001.

This Opinion addresses the public health issue of reducing alcohol related harm: harmful and hazardous alcohol consumption as well as under-age drinking contributes to alcohol related harm.

The EESC urges that a reduction in the exposure of children to alcohol products, advertising and promotions be included as a specific objective to provide greater protection to children.

The EESC urges the Commission to address the economic consequences of alcohol related harm. The negative effects go against the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy and have implications for the workplace, society and the economy.

The EESC urges that education and awareness raising initiatives should be part of an overall
integrated strategy to reduce alcohol related harm.

The EESC recognises that cultural habits differ across Europe. These differences should be taken into account by the various initiatives and actions proposed.