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European Alcohol Policy Alliance submitted its views on the European Commission’s proposal for CAP Strategic Plans. We welcome that the Proposal recognises the link between consumption and public health.
However, Eurocare would like to highlight that the Proposal should better reinforce the link to health policy, especially with regards to alcohol consumption – namely ending with promotion of wine.
The continuous support for promotion schemes in the wine sector are the hindering European Union’s efforts to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and policy coherence with other EU objectives (e.g. 2006 European Union strategy to support Member States in reducing alcohol related harm and Art 208 TFEU).
Alcoholic beverages, including wine, are an addictive substance and should not be promoted through European funds; hence Articles: 51 (g), 52 (g) and (h) of the Proposal should be deleted.
The following promotional activities are eligible for support: (a) Public relations, promotion or advertisement measures; (b) participation at events, fairs or exhibitions of international importance; (c) information campaigns; (d) studies of new markets, necessary for the expansion of market outlets; (c) studies to evaluate the results of the information and promotion measures.
This unprecedented EU-funding and propping up of advertisements for a single product, which is classified as a class one carcinogen, creates a gross dissonance with the CAP’s notion of providing a stable supply of “safe food”. As recognised by the European Commission itself, alcohol related harm is a major public health concern in the EU, accountable for over 7% of all ill health and early deaths.
Within the framework of the National Support Programmes, wine companies or consortia may receive funding for promoting ‘’responsible drinking’’ within the EU. The wine industry is not well placed for these types of educational campaigns. They are not legitimate stakeholders and may send mixed messages about alcohol consumption, considering their biased commercial interests in increasing wine sales.
For the EU to be promoting wine marketing campaigns in third countries outside the EU (including many of the developing countries) is unethical and can be in direct opposition to its commitments to the SDGs and Art 208 TFEU.
There is no justification for the special treatment of the wine industry. The EU should seize the opportunity and end with the ‘special case’ ‘specificity’ of the wine sector. In the current political climate, the EU should set an example of anti-protectionism and not provide further protection for one interest group (wine producers).