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European Parliament passes resolution for a new EU Alcohol Strategy

MEPs voted in favour of a Resolution calling on the European Commission (EC) to present a new EU Alcohol Strategy to tackle health harm for 2016-2022. The move comes just a week after European Union (EU) Health Ministers meeting in Riga called on the Commission to take action on the health impacts of alcohol.

The resolution tabled was passed during today's plenary session in Strasbourg. A last-minute amendment — led by members of the European People's Party — to limit calorie labelling on alcoholic beverages to just alcopops threatened to derail the resolution, but it was defeated and the resolution was adopted less than an hour after being brought.

Both MEPs and Ministers have recently criticised the EC for failing to update the previous EU Alcohol Strategy, which expired in 2012. The UK House of Lords EU Committee also criticised the strategy for achieving very little, urging the EU to “focus on measures within its powers, and not rely just on action by Member States, or voluntary commitments from industry.”

Today’s vote sends a clear message to the EC to speed up efforts to introduce a new strategy in order to reduce alcohol-related harm across all Member States. Glenis Willmott, a sponsor of the original resolution, tweeted:

The renewed EU Alcohol Strategy is proposed to come into place by 2016 and run until 2022. It emphasises the importance of better labelling of alcoholic drinks including ingredients and nutritional information with special focus on calories, and the need to raise awareness across the EU of the dangers of drinking during pregnancy and drink driving.