Varadkar calls for Europe-wide action on alcohol at Council of Ministers

Speaking at the EPSCO Council of Ministers meeting in Luxembourg this morning, Minister for Health Leo Varadkar called on the European Commission to bring forward a European Strategy to tackle alcohol misuse, which is a major personal and public health problem across the continent.

“Ireland is pressing ahead with our first and far-reaching public health legislation on alcohol. I expect to publish the Bill this summer.

“The Irish Bill includes provisions like minimum unit pricing to eliminate very cheap alcohol from stores, structural separation in stores to reduce availability, health warning and calorie labelling on products, to give consumers better information, and restrictions and regulation of marketing, advertising and sponsorship, particularly aimed at protecting children.

“These measures could be more enhanced by an EU wide approach. A cross-border approach will also be very effective in terms of advertising, which can currently be beamed directly into Ireland from other countries which do not adopt similar restrictions. This is regulated by an EU Directive which is currently under review. Securing stricter controls on alcohol advertising will mean that the same standards will be applied across all States, ensuring stronger protection for children in Ireland and across Europe.”