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Protecting the unborn baby from alcohol, 7 September 2011, European Parliament, Brussels

Under the patronage of Prof Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament

Key note speakers: John Dalli, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection and Adam Fronczak, Ministry for Health, Poland

Hosted by MEP: Elzbieta Lukacijewska (EPP, Poland)

Organisers: PARPA (Polish State Agency for Prevention of Alcohol-Related Problems) and Eurocare

Eurocare and PARPA gathered over 120 participants from more than 15 European countries at the event in the European Parliament in September. Both the EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection John Dalli and Chair of the EU Alcohol and Health Forum Dr Spanou participated in the policy debate which highlighted important issues around alcohol and pregnancy.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is the leading known cause of birth defects and developmental disorders in the EU. Unfortunately, many women are not aware that throughout pregnancy, even at low levels of exposure, alcohol interferes with the normal development and can seriously damage the unborn child. Case studies across Europe show there are a substantial number of women who continue to drink during pregnancy, it ranges from 25% in Spain to 35%-50% in the Netherlands and even higher rates in the UK or Ireland (79%).

The umbrella term, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), describes the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These can include physical, mental, behavioural and or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications.

This meeting was an opportunity to discuss different policy options to protect the unborn babies from the negative effects of alcohol at EU level.

Protecting the unborn baby from alcohol REPORT

Pictures from the policy debate

Programme and presentations

Opening speeches

12:30 Welcome by MEP Elzbieta Lukacijewska

12:40 Mr Adam Fronczak, Ministry for Health, Undersecretary of State, Poland

Setting the scene

12:55 Risks associated with Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol, Martha Krijgsheld, chair of FAS Foundation of the Netherlands (Power Point)

13:10 FASD children and their families: therapeutic dilemmas, Malgorzata Klecka, Poland (Presentation in English and Polish)

European solutions

13:20 Measuring the problem in Europe, Dr Lars Møller, WHO Europe (Power Point)

13:35 Labelling: A legal obligation with a positive impact, Maître Benoît Titran (Power Point)

13:45 Recommendations for effective Health warning messages, Mariann Skar, Eurocare (Power Point)

13:55 What could be done at the European level? Diane Black, EUFASD (Power Point)

14:10 Way forward at EU level, Keynote speaker: Mr John Dalli, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection (Commissioner's speech)

14:30 Debate

14:55 Closing remarks