The ALMR has today’s welcomed the clear statement by the European Commission that public health and alcohol policy is a matter for national governments, ruling out harmonization of rules across Europe. The Commission was responding to a House of Lords report on the EU Alcohol Strategy published earlier this year which called for greater European intervention, with new regulations on labeling, pricing, advertising and alcohol excise duties.
Responding to the news, ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said:
“We are very pleased that the Commission has listened to the representations we made and recognised that public health issues are best solved at a national level. Every country’s economy and culture is different and the EU’s strength is in its diversity – what works in Estonia or Luxembourg may not be right for Germany or the UK. It is far from clear that uniform rules are necessary or even desirable. Where the EU does have a role is in the supporting and promotion of best practice, with light touch regulation where goods or services are sold across borders.
The Commission also confirmed that a report on labelling of alcoholic beverages was underway, which Nicholls said the ALMR looked forward to contributing to in its role as the UK representative on HOTREC, the European umbrella body for licensed hospitality trade groups.
“Our work with HOTREC puts us in an ideal position to feed into this review and ensure that expensive unintended consequences are avoided. While on-pack labeling can undoubtedly be useful to consumers, care must be taken not to impose disproportionate burdens on retailers by extending those requirements to menus.”