Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, and Rapporteur for the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), has made a significant in-road into the banning of alcohol advertising in the EU. The EESC, on 30 September, voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Opinion, which is to support the implementation of an EU horizontal strategy to fight against the health-related, social and economic consequences of alcohol abuse and to promote responsible alcohol consumption. Despite numerous amendments organised by the alcohol industry, Mrs van Turnhout and her EESC colleagues stood firm, with 128 votes in favour, five against and four abstentions.
The EESC Opinion calls for stricter controls on alcohol marketing and pricing policies in order to reduce problems associated with alcohol consumption. These measures are aimed at reducing the proportion of people estimated to drink harmful levels of alcohol in the EU, which currently amounts to 15% of the adult population, as well as protecting children from its consequences. The EESC Opinion reflects the views of the Alliance in calling for stricter controls on alcohol marketing and pricing policies in order to reduce the proportion of people drinking harmful levels of alcohol in the EU, and to protect children from its consequences.
Mrs van Turnhout expands on this: ‘Through my work at the Children’s Rights Alliance in Ireland, it is very clear to me that alcohol marketing attracts underage drinkers; there are consistent findings that exposure to television and sponsorship, containing alcohol, predicts the onset of youth drinking and increased drinking. In fact, five to nine million children in the EU are adversely affected by alcohol. Harmful alcohol consumption is also a contributory factor in increased levels of crime, violence and family deprivation, risky sexual behaviour and sexually transmitted diseases. In the EESC and the Children’s Rights Alliance, we believe that the first step we can all take is to deal with the adverse impact of advertising and marketing on young people. Self-regulation is simply not working and it is time we took a stand.’
For further information, please contact:
Carys Thomas, Communications Director
Tel: (01) 662 9400 / 087-7702845; Fax: (01) 662 9355
Notes to Editor:
- Implementing the EU Alcohol Strategy to protect children, young people and the unborn child from alcohol-related harm is the Swedish EU Presidency’s number one target area.
- The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is a consultative body that gives the representatives of Europe’s employers, trade unions and other civil society organisations, a formal platform to express their points of views on EU issues. Its opinions are forwarded to the main institutions - the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament. It thus has a key role to play in the Union’s decision-making process.
- This EESC exploratory opinion on ‘how to make the EU Strategy on Alcohol Related Harm sustainable, long-term and multisectoral’ was requested by the Swedish Minister for European Affairs on 18 December 2008, ahead of the current Swedish EU Presidency.