Estonia has received plaudits from a pan-European coalition for its “courage and persistence” in focusing the bloc’s attention on reducing alcohol harm during its six months holding the rotating EU presidency.
The Baltic state helped convince EU members to request: a new EU alcohol strategy; monitoring and evaluation of current measures on online advertising; a framework for a new joint action plan; more research on cross-border trade; and better provisions for alcohol labelling by the end of 2019.
“It is high time for European consumers to finally be told what is in their drinks,” said Mariann Skar, head of the European Alcohol Policy Alliance. “Having heard some disturbing rumours about QR codes, we are very concerned that the industry is taking us all for fools.”
But it is not certain the European Commission will heed the request raised during the Estonian presidency, with previous requests meeting with “hesitancy”, according to Lauri Beekmann, who leads the Nordic Alcohol and Drug Policy Network.
Estonia’s six-month presidency ends this month. Next year it will be held by Bulgaria and then Austria. ■