European Commission Creates Forum To Battle Alcohol-Related Harm

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More than 40 businesses and non-governmental organisations agreed to take action to protect European citizens from the harmful use of alcohol.

EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou and representatives of the businesses and NGO's signed in Brussels the Charter establishing the Alcohol and Health Forum. The Forum, scheduled to meet twice a year, is to focus especially on concrete actions to protect children and young people and to prevent irresponsible commercial alcohol communication and sales. The move comes at a time when an estimated 200,000 Europeans die every year because of harmful alcohol use. More than one out of four deaths among young men is attributed to alcohol.

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EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said: "My expectations for this Forum are high, as they need to be given the health challenge posed by alcohol related harm. In particular I expect the alcoholic beverages industry to market their products responsibly. The media, advertisers, retailers, as well as owners of pubs and bars should also contribute to changing attitudes and behaviours, especially among young people. We simply cannot afford to see so many young European lives being wasted every year because of the inappropriate use of alcohol."

Platform for action

The European Alcohol and Health Forum is a common platform for action. Its members are economic operators and NGO's that are willing to devote time and resources to adopt meaningful actions to prevent alcohol-related harm. EU Member States, European Institutions, the World Health Organisation and the International Organisation of Vine and Wine participate as observers.

The Forum is to meet twice a year and to be chaired by the Commission's Directorate General for Health and Consumer Protection (DG SANCO). The Forum will establish a Science Group, which

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