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EC votes for European-wide alcohol harm reduction strategy

Published:  23 July, 2008

BRUSSELS: MEPS overwhelmingly voted for a European Union strategy to support member states in reducing alcohol-related harm.

For member states, non-governmental organisations and economic associations to exchange best practices, especially around children and young people.

To launch education campaigns across the member states to highlight the risks of hazardous and harmful alcohol consumption;

To target children through school-based educational programmes, to encourage children to engage in regular sports activities and to offer more help to parents with alcohol-related issues;

To limit access and availability of alcoholic drinks for young people, for instance by strictly implementing the existing legislation which prohibits selling alcohol to young people and by intensifying controls on sellers and distributors, such as restaurants and bars, supermarkets and retailers;

To involve retailers and the catering industry in identifying and implementing concrete measures to prevent the selling and serving of alcohol and alcohol pops to minors;

Alcopops - targeted at young people - should be taxed higher than other alcohol categories. They should also be separated from soft drinks in stores;

To draw up guidelines, to be implemented at national level, setting an age limit for purchasing, selling and serving alcoholic drinks;

Pubs, bars and restaurants and motorway service stations should be given breathanalysers to check consumers before they drive and for Governments to ensure alternative transport is available;

To strengthen the sanctions for drink-driving imposed by member states, such as prolonged withdrawal of the driving licence;

To set up a European prize for the best campaign against hazardous and harmful alcohol consumption directed at schools and young people,

To promote initiatives designed to guarantee psychological follow-up for individuals taken to hospital with acute alcohol intoxication.