EU: Alcohol Harm Parliamentary Question
Member of the European Parliament José Inácio Faria (PPE) has submitted a question for written answer to the European Commission in response to the absence of a new EU Alcohol Strategy.
Mr Faria is a Portuguese MEP with the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.
“The EU Alcohol Strategy”
The EU Alcohol Strategy to support Member States in reducing alcohol‐related harm was devised for the period 2006-12.
Europe has the highest levels of alcohol consumption worldwide. It is estimated that 55 million people in the EU consume harmful levels of alcohol, and, of these, 12 million are considered addicts. In spite of this, the EU strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm (2006) expired in 2012, and there are no plans to renew it.
Since 2012, apart from a non-binding Action Plan, drawn up by the Committee on National Alcohol Policy and Action (CNAPA), which the Commission does not take ownership of, there has been no policy guidance from the Commission in relation to alcohol.
The 28 health ministers of the EU have urged the Commission to adopt a comprehensive EU strategy to tackle alcohol-related harm, such as binge drinking and drink-driving. According to the conclusions of a meeting of the Ministers for Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs held on 7 December 2015, the Member States envisage that this strategy would follow up on the first EU Alcohol Strategy (2006-12).
In this context, could you provide the following information:
- How many lives have been lost over the last five years due to alcohol consumption in the EU?
- What is the estimated cost of these deaths to the EU economy?”
European Commission Answer
On August 1, Commissioner Andriukaitis responded on behalf of the European Commission:
The Global Burden of Disease Study estimates the number of deaths due to risk of alcohol at around 169 000 in the European Union in 2015. In terms of preventable mortality, Eurostat data on causes of death shows that in 2014 over 72 000 deaths due to alcohol-related diseases could have been avoided in the European Union.
The Health at a Glance Europe 2016 Report further showed that alcohol was the third leading factor for diseases and mortality after tobacco and high blood pressure in Europe and accounted for an estimated 7.6% for all men’s deaths and 4.0% of all women’s deaths.
With regard to the social cost of alcohol, the most solid available estimate (from 2010) quantified the overall costs at EUR 155.8 billion (lower limit EUR 107.9 billion, upper limit EUR 287.7 billion).”