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16/04/2008

Second Plenary Meeting of the Alcohol and Health Forum

The second plenary meeting of the Alcohol and Health Forum took place in Brussels on the 16th April 2008. Director General for Health and Consumer Protection, Robert Madelin, chair of the Forum, gave an update on the work carried out in the Task Forces (see reports below), as well as an overview of commitments made to date by the members of the Forum.

The Report on Commitments can be found on the DG SANCO Website:

http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_determinants/life_style/alcohol/Forum/alcohol_forum_en.htm

New Commissioner for Health, Androulla Vassiliou, briefly addressed Forum members in the plenary after giving a short press conference for journalists. During this press conference, she emphasised her wish to see youth participation in this process. Addressing the members of the plenary, she said:

“ I see as a really positive outcome the fact that at regular intervals the Forum brings together for joint debate organisations which, in the past, have tended to avoid sitting at the same table. This is the first occasion at European level where we can see the alcohol and advertising industries sharing ideas with health NGOs, youth organisations and medical associations. I do not underestimate the potential benefits from these exchanges.”

Commenting on the commitments submitted by members, she highlighted that there were “some promising initiatives,” but also challenged members by asking:

- Will these commitments suffice to respond to the public expectation created by the Forum?

- Do you see any area where you could combine efforts to increase impact, for example by joint commitments cutting across categories of stakeholders?

- Are the tabled initiatives ambitious enough?

- Is the combined “weight” of these initiatives attaining the critical mass that would make the difference?

To read the Commissioner's full speech:

http://alcoholreports.blogspot.com/search?q=alcohol+and+health+forum