Estonia: EU Presidency Prioritizes Alcohol Policy
On July 1st, Estonia took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time ever. The Estonian Presidency’s motto is ‘Unity through balance’, and although not one of the Presidency’s four main priorities, public health will also be a key area for action during the next six months.
For instance, the Estonian Presidency has put tackling alcohol harm high on the public health agenda. The main activities can be outlined this way:
Reducing alcohol-related harm
The recent developments and future strategies of EU alcohol policies were discussed at the 21 July Informal Meeting of Health Ministers in Tallinn. During the conference, Jevgeni Ossinovski, the Estonian Minister for Health and Labour, underlined EU national governments’ shared goal to reduce alcohol-related harm by 10% by 2020, as set out in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) global action plan.
In order to achieve this, the Estonian Presidency will mainly be focusing on the cross-border aspects of alcohol policy, providing special attention to alcohol labelling and the need to protect youth from alcohol advertising.
Time will tell if the Estonian Presidency’s recognition of the need for joint action by national governments to tackle alcohol-related harm will finally result in tangible policy measures in the Council Conclusions to be proposed at the end of the year.