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Summaries of EU Legislation

EU alcohol strategy

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EU alcohol strategy


Strategy to support EU countries in reducing alcohol-related harm — COM(2006) 625 final



It establishes a strategy to support EU countries in reducing the health, economic and social problems related to harmful and hazardous alcohol consumption.

The strategy sets priority themes, identifies the different levels of action and lists the measures taken by EU countries to encourage good practices. It also invites all other interested parties to take measures to reduce alcohol-related harm. Action by the European Commission has complemented national strategies in this area.


Five priorities

  • 1.

    Protecting young people, childrenand the unborn child — this includes 3 specific aims:

    • curbing underage drinking, and reducing hazardous and harmful drinking among young people,
    • reducing the harm suffered by children in families with alcohol-related problems,
    • reducing exposure to alcohol during pregnancy.
  • 2.

    Reducing alcohol-related road deaths and injuries

  • 3.
    Reducing alcohol-related harm among adults and its negative impact on the workplace — the specific aims are to:
    • decrease alcohol-related chronic physical and mental disorders,
    • decrease the number of alcohol-related deaths,
    • provide information to consumers so that they can make informed choices,
    • contribute to the reduction of alcohol-related harm at the workplace.
  • 4.

    Informing, educating and raising awareness — particular emphasis is placed on the impact of harmful and hazardous alcohol consumption on:

    • the unborn child,
    • underage drinkers,
    • working and driving performance.
  • 5.

    Developing, supporting and maintaining a common evidence base — gathering comparable information on a number of issues including:

    • consumption levels,
    • drinking patterns,
    • social and health effects of alcohol.

Supporting EU countries

The EU’s role in this strategy is to complement the efforts of EU countries, add value to their actions and to enable EU countries to work together to deal with common issues.

A 3-year joint action on reducing alcohol-related harm (RARHA), funded under the EU health programme, started in January 2014. It aims to support EU countries’ progress towards common priorities in line with the EU alcohol strategy, and to help them to address and reduce alcohol-related harm.

Implementation of the Strategy

  • A 2013 report found that most EU countries had updated and strengthened their alcohol strategies in the direction of the EU strategy.
  • The EU strategy in the 5 priority areas was found to have shown clear results in terms of supporting EU countries’ action.
  • Coordination and support for EU countries could be enhanced by increasing the visibility of the Committee on National Alcohol Policy and Action (CNAPA) and introducing a multi-year work plan.
  • Interested parties could be encouraged to become involved in the EU Alcohol and Health Forum.


Alcohol policy


Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: An EU strategy to support Member States in reducing alcohol-related harm (COM(2006) 625 final of 24.10.2006)

last update 13.01.2016