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May 12, 2006

The EU’s Alcohol Study

I am sent by one of the people quoted a report from the European Voice. The EU has decided, in the fullness of its wisdom, to commission a study on the effects of alcohol across the continent.

They’ve also asked an offshoot of the Temperance Union to write it for them.

Teetotallers handed 300k euro for EU alcohol study

By Emily Smith

The European Commission has defended its decision to pay temperance-funded

lobbyists more than a quarter of a million euros for a report on the health and

social impacts of alcohol.


The report, to be published in June, will make bleak reading for the alcohol industry ahead of a Commission alcohol strategy expected later in the year.
It says 23 million Europeans are alcoholics and that alcohol causes 16% of child abuse and 2,000 murders every year. The report says that extending the opening hours of bars and pubs leads to an increase in violence and suggests a 10% rise in alcohol taxes for the EU15 could save 9,000 lives annually.

But eyebrows have already been raised at its authors' links with the temperance movement. The report was commissioned by the Commission in 2003 from the UK-based Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS), at that time part of the Alliance House Foundation.

Alliance House defines its mission as being "to spread the principles of total abstinence from alcoholic drinks".

A spokesman for the Commission said the IAS was chosen by previous health commissioner David Byrne "in the full knowledge of who they were".

In January the IAS registered itself as a separate charity. Over the last ten years it has lobbied the UK government to tighten laws on underage drinking, binge drinking, extended opening hours and alcohol excise duties. An IAS representative confirmed the group continues to be funded by Alliance House
following the January registration. The two groups still share the same website and email address, although an IAS representative said a separate site would be launched along with the report itself.

The Commission contracting agreement gives the "estimated service value" of the IAS report as "approximately 300,000 euro".

The Commission spokesman said the report would be "just one of several inputs into the Commission's work on alcohol and health" but the only one to look at health and social questions.

He said Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou "would decide which elements to use", adding that the report was being peer-reviewed by several parties, including industry representatives, and that their comments would be published as an annex.

IAS chief executive Andrew McNeil said: "The report could be written by the devil himself and it would make no difference...it stands or falls on its own merits." He said registering as a separate charity had nothing to do with the report's pending publication.

Mark Hastings of the British Beer and Pub Association said: "People would be gobsmacked if the drinks industry had written the report; the same questions have to be asked here."

Jamie Fortescue, director-general of the European Spirits Organisation, said his group had expressed concerns from the outset. The report's lead author Peter Anderson said he had "no links to the temperance movement".

May 12, 2006 in Your Tax Money at Work | Permalink


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The way it looks from across the pond, it will not make a bit of difference in 20 years. Y'all will be under shira law anyway. No Alcohol.

Posted by: Jimmy K. | May 13, 2006 2:35:55 AM