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EESC calls for stricter controls on alcohol marketing and pricing

(First appeared on La Journée Vinicole, edition number 201, October 21 2009)

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has adopted an opinion on how to make the EU’s strategy on alcohol-related harm sustainable, long-term and multisectoral.

The opinion, which was requested by the Swedish Presidency, calls for stricter controls on alcohol marketing and pricing policies in order to reduce problems associated with alcohol consumption.

It considers that the proportion of people estimated to drink harmful levels in the EU currently amounts to 15% of the adult population. The EESC’s opinion supports the implementation of an EU horizontal strategy in order to fight against the health-related, social and economic consequences of alcohol abuse and to promote responsible alcohol consumption.

The EESC opinion focuses on protecting children, not only those who are adversely affected by alcohol abuse, but also those who are influenced by product marketing.

The opinion claims that “the marketing of alcoholic beverages increases the likelihood that children and adolescents will start to use alcohol, and will drink more if they are already using alcohol. In light of this, the EESC calls for a reduction in the exposure of children to alcohol marketing as well as more effective regulation of the availability and distribution of alcohol, as self-regulation in this area is not enough”.

To raise awareness about the risk of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), which includes all the birth defects caused by maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy, the EESC supports awareness-raising campaigns at national and EU level.



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