Labour MEPs call for EU action on alcohol-related harm

Glenis Willmott MEP

Labour MEPs have called on the European Commission to take action to reduce the burden of alcohol-related harm in Europe.

Voting in the European Parliament today, MEPs supported a resolution calling for the Commission to produce a new EU Alcohol Strategy and to take greater steps to ensure people are fully aware of the dangers of drink-driving and drinking when pregnant.

Glenis Willmott MEP, Labour's European health spokesperson and author of the resolution, said: “Europe is still the heaviest drinking region in the world, with alcohol the third biggest cause of preventable death and disease and alcohol-related harm costing the EU economy €155.8 billion a year.

“Alcohol is linked to over 60 chronic illnesses including cancer, liver disease and heart disease. The evidence is clear that drinking during pregnancy harms the unborn child and the Commission needs to do more to ensure people are aware of this by introducing warning labels on all alcoholic drinks."

MEPs also want mandatory labelling of calories on alcoholic drinks, as alcohol was previously excluded from food labelling laws that apply to all other products.

Glenis Willmott added: “Many people don’t realise how many calories are in alcohol and Labour MEPs have always argued for clear, honest labelling.

“Consumers have a right to know that a glass of wine has the same number of calories as a slice of cake. This isn't about telling people what to do, but giving them the information they need to make informed choices. This is by no means an extreme measure and is actually supported by the Brewers of Europe.

“The European Parliament has made it clear that we want the Commission to make tackling alcohol-related harm a priority. We’ve sent a strong message to the Commission today and I hope they’ll listen and finally come forward with a new strategy to set out how this will be done.”

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