Beer industry regrets NGO walk out from EU alcohol platform

Brewers group hopes European commission can resolve impasse.

By Brian Johnson

09 Jun 2015

Brussels-based beer association, the Brewers of Europe have said they will stick by a discredited European commission alcohol platform despite the recent walk out from a group of NGOs.

The group of around 20 NGOs announced last week they were quitting the EU's flagship alcohol and health forum after they accused the European commission of not doing enough to combat alcohol-related harm.

In a statement, Brewers of Europe secretary general Pierre-Olivier Bergeron said the Brussels-based organisation "regrets the decision by a number of NGOs to abandon the European alcohol and health forum", which he explained had been set up "to provide a common platform for all interested stakeholders at EU level that pledge to step up actions relevant to reducing alcohol-related harm".

He added that they hoped this was "merely a temporary solution and that the commission would be able to convince these NGOs of the EU's ongoing commitment to tackling alcohol misuse and reducing the harm that this causes."

"Both the European parliament and member states recently recognised the positive contribution made by the EU strategy and the continuing relevance both of the priority areas for action and of the structures set up to implement it, such as the European health and alcohol forum."

Bergeron stressed that, "brewers remain committed to the forum and to rolling out, through our European beer pledge, actions, including through partnerships with government authorities and NGOs, that concretely address alcohol-related harm at the local level, brewers already being responsible for over a third of the commitments to action made in the forum."

He also pointed out that Brewers of Europe "recently announced a commitment to roll out ingredients listing and the provision of nutrition information for beer across the EU, a commitment that was welcomed by the commission, MEPs and NGOs."

So far, the European commission has refused to comment on the NGO walk out or on the future of the forum.

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