The European Alcohol Policy Alliance (EUROCARE)

The European Alcohol Policy Alliance (EUROCARE) is an alliance of non-governmental and public health organisations with around 60 member organisations across 24 European countries advocating the prevention and reduction of alcohol related harm in Europe.

Member organisations are involved in advocacy and research, as well as in the provision of information and training on alcohol issues and the service for people whose lives are affected by alcohol problems.

The mission of Eurocare is to promote policies to prevent and reduce alcohol related harm. The message, in regard to alcohol consumption is “less is better”.

Eurocare has consulted its member organisations, the APN, the EPHA alcohol working group and the AMPHORA research network regarding their assessment of the progress so far with the EU Alcohol Strategy.

Eurocare recognizes the difficulty of reconciling public health and commercial objectives in regard to alcohol products, a difficulty all too evident in the history of the development of the EU Alcohol Strategy. Eurocare congratulates the European Commission on pursuing the EU Alcohol Strategy despite strong opposition, and on finding a way of bringing together different parties with very different perspectives on the main issues.

However, concerns remain about the role of the alcohol industry in the implementation of the Strategy, and the opportunities the industry is being given to obstruct progress and to divert attention to what the scientific evidence suggests are unproductive areas of activity.

Eurocare members are:

  • in agreement with the priorities of the Strategy
  • while doubtful that the present Strategy will of itself bring about significant reductions in levelsof alcohol harm
  • believe that it is an important first stage that requires further development

In particular, Eurocare believes that the goal now should be to work towards setting specific targets for reductions in the harmful consumption of alcohol and in levels of harm.

The institutional response of the EU to alcohol harm would be strengthened by replacing the oldHealthy Lifestyles committee under the Public Health Program with a Substance Abuse Committee. This would be designed to provide a bridge between scientific research and policy making in regard to alcohol, other drugs and tobacco, areas of concern that are in fact interrelated in various ways.

Eurocare has a range of specific recommendations for the European Commission, Member States, economic operators and non-governmental organizations, as listed in the report.

Eurocare has also recommendations in regard to particular areas of policy such as alcohol taxation and product labeling. It believes that policy developments in regard to areas such as these would be greatly facilitated by the European Commission using its influence to bring about agreement on a standard unit of alcohol across all EU Member States.

There is a need for a common legal framework to support collective action across borders. Greater support from Europe should be given to the development of a World Health Organization GlobalStrategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.

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