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Fischer Boel: EU must promote responsible drinking

Published:  23 July, 2008

Winemaking member states must work together to promote responsible drinking if they are to the tackle the binge drinking culture, Mariann Fischer Boel, EU commissioner for agriculture and rural development, has said.

Speaking at the European launch of the Wine in Moderation Programme Art de Vivre', Boel said: "Clearly, public policy on alcohol-related harm will be more effective if we co-ordinate where possible and if member states learn from each other's successes."

The commissioner urged various sections of the alcoholic drinks industry to also play a very valuable role.

"The more seriously the industry takes its role, the less often the state will have to step in," she said, adding that the funds for promoting moderate drinking are available through individual member state's national envelopes, announced as part of the European wine reform in December.

Boel said the Art de Vivre programme is as an important step to a "coordinated response."

The programme, launched in the UK by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association last year, is to be rolled out across Europe via the Comit Europen des Entreprises Vins (CEEV).

Art de Vivre aims to promote responsible consumption of wine, reduce alcohol abuse and related harm and preserve the cultural, environmental and economic place of wine, worth 15billion a year to the EU economy.

"The programme gets across important facts about the dangers of heavy drinking without taking a preaching tone of the sort which might encourage rather than discourage an irresponsible approach to alcohol," Boel said.

"I'm confident that this campaign will be valuable in helping to take some of the steam out of the accelerating trend of binge drinking."

The Arts de Vivre programme will be communicated through ambassadors who will include those working in all sectors of the wine trade from growers to schools.

The Wine in Moderation Plan is accompanied by a website launch