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Community strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm (Council conclusions - 2001)

Alcohol is one of the key health determinants in the European Union (EU). Excessive consumption of alcohol causes serious health and social problems which are affecting an increasingly large number of people. That is why the Council is calling for the development of a comprehensive Community strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm.


Council Conclusions of 5 June 2001 on a Community strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm [Official Journal C 175 of 20.06.2001].


Alcohol-related harm

Scientific studies have clearly shown that alcohol consumption substantially increases the risk of all-cause mortality (liver cirrhosis, alcoholism, haemorrhagic stroke, foetal alcohol syndrome, etc.) and the level of alcohol-related morbidity in general.

Alcohol is also a major contributory factor in fatal road accidents and the direct cause of many accidents both in workplaces and at home.

Moreover, there is a close link between alcohol abuse and a large number of worrying social phenomena, such as marginalisation and social exclusion, domestic violence and disruption of the family unit, criminality, homelessness and mental disorders.

Increase in consumption

It has been shown that regular alcohol consumption is increasing, as is binge drinking among young people in some Member States. This is all the more cause for concern as there are strong links between an early start with regard to heavy alcohol consumption, substance abuse and criminality.

Framework for action

These Council Conclusions are in keeping with more wide-ranging initiatives launched at European level, namely:

  • the Community Health Strategy drawn up in 2000, which provides for, inter alia, the preparation and implementation of measures regarding lifestyle-related health determinants, such as alcohol;
  • the EU Drugs Strategy (2000-2004), which emphasises the need for measures addressing any form of addiction, including alcohol and tobacco consumption.

Lines of action and priorities of the future Community strategy

The Council calls for the development of a Community strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm. This strategy would comprise in particular the following elements:

  • continued collection of comparative and comprehensive information and creation of an effective monitoring system on alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harm and policy measures and their effects in the EU;
  • development of a range of coordinated Community activities in all relevant policy areas;
  • ensuring a high level of health protection in the definition and implementation of Community activities in fields such as research, consumer protection, transport, advertising, marketing, sponsorship and excise duties;
  • strengthened cooperation and exchange of knowledge between Member States;
  • international cooperation, in particular with the World Health Organisation.

The Commission is invited to put forward proposals for this comprehensive Community strategy, taking account of the above elements.


Communication from the Commission of 24 October 2006 "An EU strategy to support Member States in reducing alcohol-related harm" [COM(2006) 625 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
The Communication sets out a European strategy to support Member States in reducing alcohol-related harm. It identifies five priority themes, including reducing alcohol-related harm to children and young people, reducing the number of alcohol-related road fatalities and accidents, and awareness-raising campaigns. The Commission's action will complement the national strategies in this field.

Council Conclusions of 1 and 2 June 2004 on alcohol and young people [Not published in the Official Journal].
In these Conclusions (p. 40) [PDF], the Council reiterates those of 5 June 2001 on a Community strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm and invites the Commission to put forward proposals to this effect.

Council Recommendation 2001/458/EC of 5 June 2001 on the drinking of alcohol by young people, in particular children and adolescents [Official Journal L 161 of 16.06.2001].
This recommendation calls for the development of a strategy to tackle the problems caused by alcohol abuse among children and adolescents.

Last updated: 11.01.2007

See also

Further information can be found on the European Commission's Public health website

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