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Significant EU problems ahead for alcohol bill – Hayes

Significant EU problems ahead for alcohol bill – Hayes

Dublin MEP, Brian Hayes has today (Sunday) expressed concerns about delays to the passing of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. The bill, which was published last October, aims to tackle Ireland’s ongoing problem with alcohol misuse as well as reduce consumption. Several EU Member States and the European Commission have submitted objections to the legislation stating that it would create trade barriers.

Hayes 4

“The legislation is a landmark piece of public health legislation. It contains many measures including minimum pricing, advertising rules and restrictions on promotions. The most controversial element is the requirement to have health labels on all alcoholic drinks. This means all alcoholic drinks sold in Ireland must contain a label showing the grams of alcohol, calorie count, health warnings as well as an address to a public health website. No such laws exist in any other EU country.”

“If the legislation is introduced, manufactures who import alcohol into Ireland would be required to include health labels on their products. 11 EU Member States have submitted objections to the legislation as well as the European Commission stating that the legislation would create barriers to free trade.”

“I am extremely concerned that the European Commission or another EU Member State intervening would delay this important piece of legislation. Member states must be able to react to ongoing health concerns, which are particular to those Member States, in a determined and coordinated way.”

“Health concerns and a proper response to Irelands binge drinking culture – are best tackled at a local level irrespective of internal market concerns. The Commission issuing warning shots against Ireland on this issue denies the principal of subsidiarity and hampers public policy making in Ireland. It sets a dangerous precedent and must be opposed.”

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