EU: Continent's brewers attack Commission report
Another trade body has come out against the impending European Commission report into alcohol consumption around the continent.
The Brewers of Europe, which represents national brewing associations from 23 countries, said today (18 July) that the Commission's proposals, due to be published in September, would confuse alcohol consumption in general with the misuse of alcoholic drinks.
"A 'one size fits all' policy, which is not evidence-based, would not work and would risk alienating public opinion by treating responsible consumers like alcoholics," the association said.
A report commissioned by the association, published late last week, has concluded that evidence-based policies are needed to tackle alcohol-related problems in society.
An independent panel, which reviewed the report, has said: "Any EU policies on alcohol-related harm should be formulated and implemented taking into account regional, national and local differences in the consumption and misuse of alcohol."
"Europe's brewers recognise that problems related to the misuse of alcohol - both in terms of health issues and anti-social behaviour - exist in some parts of Europe," said the association's secretary-general, Rodolphe de Looz-Corswarem. "However, the conclusions of the independent panel demonstrate that there is no scientific justification for pan-European regulation to reduce alcohol consumption.
"Some confuse alcohol consumption in general with the misuse of alcoholic drinks. However, the level of alcohol consumption per se is not an indicator of alcohol-related problems, since these are culturally determined rather than quantity determined. Many countries with a high level of consumption across the whole population are those with the most responsible drinking patterns."
De Looz-Corswarem added: "Where there are social or health problems associated with alcohol misuse, national or regional governments should continue to formulate public health policies appropriate to their cultures, without interference from Brussels."
Last month, spirits body The European Forum for Responsible Drinking said that a Commission report issued in June as part of the consultation process for a Europe-wide alcohol policy was based too strongly on Anglo-Saxon science and did not factor in drinking cultures in the south of the continent.
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