“Europe drinks more alcohol than any other region in the world,” said Glenis Willmott, Labour Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands. “We need to take action not only in the UK, but also at European level.
“One thing that is becoming clearer is the link between alcohol and cancer. There are seven types of cancer which have a proven link to alcohol. In the UK alone around 3,100 cases of breast cancer each year are linked to alcohol.
“Of course that’s just part of the damage caused by alcohol through liver disease, cardiovascular disease, dementia, mental illness, drink driving and other issues.
“We need the EU Alcohol Strategy to be renewed. Whilst it is up to each EU government to introduce the policies they think best to tackle alcohol harm, there needs to be dialogue at EU level, especially when it comes to important new measures such as minimum pricing.
“I’m bitterly disappointed Cameron’s government has u-turned on their promise to introduce minimum pricing, which experts agree would save lives. Sadly it seems the Tories are more interested in listening to the concerns of the alcohol industry than those of medical professionals and public health experts.
“The alcohol lobby has been active at European level too, and managed to derail my plans for calorie labelling on alcohol bottles. There is a strong link between alcohol and obesity and consumers deserve to know the calorie content of drink. A medium glass of white wine, for example, contains roughly the same number of calories as a chocolate bar.
“I have authored a resolution which is going through the European Parliament now, and I hope this will go some way to reducing alcohol harm.”