See my latest question to the Commission on why we need an EU wide Joint Action on Alcohol to support Member States in actions on alcohol related harm!
Question for written answer E-002097/2017 to the Commission – Nessa Childers (S&D) – Lack of Joint Action on Alcohol
Over the years, the Commission has used the ‘Joint Action’ approach to support Member States in their efforts in health policy areas. For some areas, such as cancer, a third joint action will be conducted. Europe is the world’s heaviest drinking region, alcohol-related harm constituting a major public health problem that inflicts large-scale socio-economic damage. In 2010 alone, the overall social costs of alcohol consumption in Europe were estimated at some EUR 155.8 billion. Despite the salience of the issue of alcohol-related harm, the Commission has, to date, proposed only one Joint Action on Alcohol – RARHA. This joint action was extremely successful, leading to increased cooperation among the Member States as well as producing high-quality tangible results. It is therefore surprising to see that the Commission in its Annual Work Programme for 2017 did not include the continuation of the Joint Action on Alcohol. Could the Commission explain in detail its reasoning for not supporting the Member States in action on alcohol-related harm through continuation of the Joint Action?
Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission (18.5.2017) E-002097/2017
The commitments taken by Member States to reach the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals require reinforced efforts to prevent and manage non-communicable diseases and their determinants. The Commission agrees that the 2014-2016 Joint Action on alcohol, financed under the EU Health Programme, made significant progress in identifying and sharing best practices, resulting in increased cooperation among Member States and producing high-quality tangible results. The Health Programme has other supporting instruments besides Joint Actions at its disposal. The Commission intends to continue supporting the work of the Member States in the area of alcohol related harm via a 4-year framework contract. The first EUR 1 million is proposed to be used in 2017 as specified in the 2017 Health Programme work plan. The framework contract can support initiatives to follow-up the conclusions of the Joint Action, while being flexible in terms of contribution of resources from Member States and in adapting and selecting deliverables on a year to year basis. The Commission also continues to support Member States in preventing alcohol abuse and addressing the harm that it causes within the Committee on National Alcohol Policy and Action, by facilitating the implementation and monitoring of the Action Plan on Youth Drinking and on Heavy Episodic Drinking. In addition, the Commission is supporting four projects addressing accessibility of alcohol and heavy episodic drinking by young people. Finally, a pilot project financed by the Parliament to support women struggling with an alcohol problem will also start later in 2017.
We need an EU wide Joint Action on Alcohol to support Member States in actions on alcohol related harm. To help make this a reality I am working closely with Awareness Week on Alcohol related Harm and the European Parliament’s Interest Group on Mental Health.