The European Alcohol Policy Alliance (Eurocare) is an alliance of non-governmental and public health organisations with around 55 member organisations across 24 European countries advocating the prevention and reduction of alcohol related harm. Member organisations are involved in advocacy and research, as well as in the provision of information and training on alcohol issues and the service for people whose lives are affected by alcohol problems.
The mission of Eurocare is to promote policies to prevent and reduce alcohol related harm. The message, in regard to alcohol consumption is "less is better".
Eurocare’s vision is a Europe where alcohol related harm is no longer one of the leading risk factors for ill-health and pre-mature death. A Europe where innocents no longer suffer from the drinking of others and where the European Union (EU) and its Member States(MS)recognise harm done by alcohol and apply effective and comprehensive policies to tackle it. Eurocare strives to be recognised as the leading NGO in alcohol related dialogue and policy development.
Eurocare core values:
Public health is a crucial fundamental right as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Public health is more than basic medical care and should be the core business of every government who have the responsibility to improve the wellbeing of its citizens (as mentioned in art 168 TFEU).
Good health is a fundamental resource for social and economic development, meaning that people live longer and enjoy more healthy years of life.
Equality in health is vital for the cohesion of society. Eurocare recognises the remarkable improvements in public health in recent decades, but notes that there are still large differences between population groups, regions and countries.
The participation of civil society has been increasingly significant in shaping and delivering health outcomes at all levels.
Eurocare believes that the public good must take precedence over commercial interests.
Recommended alcohol policies must be based on best available evidence, monitored and evaluated.
Subsidiarity and diversity must be respected as the national situations in Europe are very different.
The general objective of Eurocare and its members is to prevent and reduce alcohol related harm in Europe by influencing through its Secretariat in Brussels the European Institutions, World Health Organisation and Member States representatives so that they develop and implement effective alcohol policies.
Eurocare has two main objectives for its work 2013 - 2016.
- Eurocare recognises the link between alcohol related harm and the total alcohol consumption and aims for reduction from 12,5l to 9l pure alcohol per adult per year by 2020.
- Eurocare aims to raise awareness and promote evidence based policies among politicians and public at large on alcohol related harm.
Eurocare will work with the European Institutions, Member States and other European countries to recognise the challenge of the harm caused by alcohol by;
- Securing an EU alchol strategy
- Convincing politicians and decision makers to recognize evidence based policies.
Eurocare envisages a Europe where children and adolescents are less affected by the harm caused by alcohol. This could be done by:
- introduction and strict enforcement of 18 as a minimum age for purchasing alcoholic beverages.
- stricter regulation of alcohol marketing.
- increase of minimum alcohol tax rates.
- introduction and enforcement of 0,2 blood alcohol level (BAL) for driving.
- by provision of consumer information on alcohol labels.
- stricter opening hours and reduced density for commerce selling alcohol.
To achieve these objectives Eurocare conducts amongst others the following activities:
- monitors all relevant policy developments that have an impact on alcohol policies;
- engages in dialogue with decision makers to ensure that the harms caused by alcohol (social, health and economic burden) are taken into consideration in all relevant policy discussions and advocates the development and implementation of effective and evidence-based policies to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm. To that end Eurocare carries out advocacy campaigns, responds to EU consultations, publishes position papers etc. Eurocare participates in the EU Health Policy Forum and is a founding member of the EU Alcohol and Health Forum;
- regularly provides information to its Members through the organisation of meetings and events media outreach and publications;
- creates and nurtures alliances between organisations concerned with alcohol related harm, providing a forum for European organizations with responsibilities in the field of alcohol with the aim of establishing a closer cooperation and collaboration between them;
- facilitates the collection, analysis, dissemination and the use of data relating to alcohol consumption in Europe and the resulting damages through its participation in European projects, organisation of events, website, e-newsletter etc;
- represents European NGOs in a number of platforms such as the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance, The Alcohol Policy Network, European Partnership Action Against Cancer, European Public Health Agricultural Consortium (EPHAC).
- actively participates in the EU Alcohol and Health Forum. The Eurocare Secretariat has taken on a “Coordination Role” among NGOs participating in the Forum, organising informal meetings prior to plenary in order to discuss agendas and exchange ideas.
- participates in the Health Policy Forum.
- actively participates in the Regional meetings of the World Health Organisation Europe.
- heavily engages in the WHO Non communicable diseases consultation processes in Geneva.
Eurocare work programme 2014 is divided into 3 main areas and follows Eurocare Business plan 2013-2016.
1 OPERATIONAL MATTERS
Eurocare’s membership is the foundation of its existence, credibility and legitimacy. Maintenance, development, service and support to members are main-streamed into all activities. The main objective is to build capacity and actively foster cooperation and exchange of knowledge. To that end Eurocare organises a General Assembly (spring) and members meeting (autumn).
Eurocare strives to strengthen the structure and finances. In 2014 it will dedicate time and human resources to investigate sources of funding.
Dissemination of information is one of Eurocare’s main activities. The information tools are the website, newsletter and social media (Facebook, Twitter). Following comments from the external evaluation, changes were made, for the first time a Communication guidance document has been produced. In 2014 efforts will be made to implement the document and increase Eurocare social media presence.
During 2014 the project database will be further updated and maintained. This database is developed in order to keep track of all the projects and examples that have been gathered over the years on alcohol projects.
Policy briefings and reports are produced according to the current activities or at the request of the Board or the members (who are always consulted).
2 POLICY RELATED MATTERS
Eurocare seeks to influence key decision makers within both the MS and the EU Institutions, especially focusing on health in all policies, reminding policy makers of the harm done by alcohol and the need to put the health of citizens before the economic interests. Eurocare will continue in 2014 its efforts on safeguarding development of a new EU Alcohol Strategy and providing input into the debates on its content.
The main policy areas as identifies by its Business plan, for 2014 will focus on (a) protection of young people- age limits (b) better regulation of marketing (c) price and taxation (d) labelling of alcoholic beverages -ingredient listing and kcal, health and safety warning labels.
In relation to the above mentioned areas Eurocare will in 2014:
- continue cycle of policy debates on alcohol, with two events being prepared on (i) alcohol as a risk factor for chronic diseases(ii) cost effective policies to address alcohol related harm. The aim of these debates will be to identify and exchange good practices in area of cost effective alcohol policies which would support Member States as well as other interested parties to develop and maintain efficient and sustainable health care systems.
- produce a publication on age limits, reviewing the literature and evidence base and giving an overview of developments in the EU, as well as providing clear policy recommendations and identifying few best practices of enforcement
- organise a seminar in the European Parliament focusing on the advertising of alcohol on the Internet; the aim of the seminar will be to raise awareness about the issue, exchange knowledge and encourage policy actions
- continue raising awareness of the link between alcohol and cancer through maintenance of the website www.alcoholandcancer.eu
Other issues that will be followed in 2014 will include: availability and affordability, drink driving, family and children affected by alcohol, social inclusion and equality in health, prevention at the workplace, obtaining more up to date data regarding alcohol with special focus on economics of alcohol policy. The majority of these activities will be taken by the secretariat and the staff levels needs to be maintained in order to follow this up.
Continued support from the secretariat is needed to engage and coordinate members` input into the EU Alcohol and Health Forum and the EU Health Policy Forum.
3 EXTERNAL PROJECTS
Eurocare will take part in Let it hAPYN project.
6 European Alcohol Policy Conference will be organised by Eurocare and members Dec 14.