Here alcohol has come under attack again for its health effects. This time, by a European Parliament committee that has linked it to multiple cancers. Suggestions to limit consumer choices are proliferating in response…
Legislators are responsible for the preparation of the reports to be integrated into the European Commission’s “European Plan to Beat Cancer” within the European Parliament’s “Commission to Overcome Cancer” (BECA). In essence, the aim of the European Union (EU) is to combat non-communicable diseases, namely cancer diagnoses that can be prevented by a healthier lifestyle.
Their first target? Alcohol.
Indeed, according to the first report by MEP Véronique Trillet-Lenoir (La République En Marche), alcohol is responsible for 10% of cancers in men and 3% in women. Its findings and recommendations therefore support the Commission’s targets to reduce alcohol consumption by 10% by 2025.
Struggling with alcohol abuse or simple consumption?
However, some of the proposed measures were rejected by the European People’s Party (EPP, centre-right) in the European Parliament. The position of the majority party is that the EU should not stigmatize alcohol consumption in general, but instead emphasize alcohol abuse.
“While excessive alcohol consumption is of course a health risk, appropriate and proportionate measures must be taken without stigmatizing this important economic sector that is part of our lifestyle,” said Nathalie Colin-Oesterlé. , vice-president of the EPP MEP (Les Centristes) and BECA commission.
One of the measures proposed by the European Parliament is to put warning labels on wine bottles, which hitherto avoided labels similar to cigarette packs.
That could soon change, as lawmakers are already discussing the text of the label, not just the necessity of a warning label. Will the label say “any alcohol consumption can cause cancer” or “too much alcohol can cause cancer”? Will it be shown with a photo of a damaged liver? Regardless, the old tradition of wine labels will then be crippled.
In 2023, the European Commission will also make recommendations to reduce the affordability and availability of alcohol, meaning that taxes on beer and spirits are likely to be much higher.
In addition, the EU will submit proposals to ban alcohol advertising at sporting events. This offer was later watered down as “sponsorship of sporting events for minors”. That’s a very vague statement… All sports that appeal to minors (which ones aren’t?) can fall into this category.
In particular, sports that rely heavily on sponsorships, such as football, could be severely affected by such a ban. Left-wing Brussels parliamentarians and environmentalists opposed any changes to existing recommendations, arguing that there is no such thing as safe drinking.
One price… and higher
One recommendation that can be made at European Union level is the minimum price recommendation for alcohol, at least as it already exists in places like Scotland and Ireland. In essence, this model sets a minimum price per unit of alcohol and generally increases alcohol prices.
It doesn’t seem like it would affect anyone in Brussels, as even Scottish government health officials found it had no impact on alcohol-related deaths or illnesses after analyzing the measure. Public Health Scotland also states that non-alcoholic crimes are believed to be affected by the minimum price of alcohol, as gangs take advantage of lower alcohol prices to sell illegal beverages.
Actually, let me make a bold prediction: The European Union will not only set a minimum price for alcohol, but will gradually increase it over time. Why ? Every time a research shows that the measure is not working, a clever bureaucrat in Brussels will conclude that the problem is not the ineffectiveness of the measure, but that the prices are not high enough.
In addition to the alcohol regulations it will announce next year, the EU will publish binding targets for the overall reduction of alcohol consumption. This means that Member States must find additional measures to reduce alcohol consumption or reduce the risk of being criticized by the European Commission for not doing enough.
France has been the queen of bad ideas in this regard. This could mean ban happy hourrestricting the opening hours of bars, raising the age limit for the sale of alcohol, and even creating stores that sell alcohol that are State owned and controlled, as in Europe North.
All these measures will excite Al Capone type criminals. What we’re doing in Europe right now is to create an alcohol ban where low-income people can no longer legally obtain alcohol. Therefore, they can make their own alcoholic beverages by switching to System D or obtain them illegally with all the side effects they can bring.
We seem doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past in lifestyle adjustments. It’s so depressing… it makes you want to drink.