The EU should have a common alcohol policy that could help prevent damage caused by excessive consumption and member states' differing alcohol policies, said Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE).
"It has been seven years since the adoption of the global agreement to minimize damage from alcohol consumption," Ossinovski said opening a European-wide alcohol policy conference in Tallinn on Monday. "All countries recognize the principles of it — a good alcohol policy is comprehensive, sustainable and cross-sectoral. In a united Europe — and that is my last and most important standpoint [in today's speech] — this means an alcohol policy on the EU level. There is no other option for implementing a global strategy in Europe."
The minister admitted that achieving this goal is currently a long way off. "But 20 years ago, nobody would have also believed that an EU tobacco directive would be in effect," he added.
The minister justified the need for a common EU alcohol policy with questions concerning cross-border trade and advertisement, which in today's world cannot be regulated within one country, as well as the issue of labeling products, which is within the jurisdiction of the EU.
The two-day conference, titled "Cross-Border Aspects in Alcohol Policy — Tackling the Harmful Use of Alcohol," began at the Hotel Olümpia in Tallinn on Monday. Participants of the conference include a number of top public health researchers and specialists from the European Commission, the World Health Organization (WHO), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and other organizations.
Editor: Aili Vahtla