The European Commission is asking alcohol producers and retailers "to communicate responsibly and to enforce self-regulatory rules on advertising," as part of a campaign to curb the promotion of drinking by young people.

Brussels says it does not intend to ban alcohol advertising but considers that "there is a need for scrutiny of commercial communication and of national self-regulatory codes of good practice with respect to advertising targeted at young people."

National governments of the 15 member countries "are invited to elaborate, with the industry, codes of conduct to ensure that manufacturers do not target alcoholic products at children and adolescents and that alcoholic beverages are not designed or promoted to appeal particularly to them," says the Commission.

Following the Commission's attack on tobacco advertising in recent years there have been rumours that it wants to switch its attention to alcohol.

Officials said Friday that while the latest communication did not propose this, "it could not be ruled out in the long term."