Excessive alcohol consumption is the cause of severe liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis, fatty liver and cancer. The European Commission adopted a Communication setting out an EU-wide strategy to fight alcohol-related harm focusing on the effects of irresponsible alcohol consumption.
In June 2007, the European Commission, industry and NGOs signed a Charter establishing the European Alcohol and Health Forum as the cornerstone for implementing the EU alcohol strategy. EASL voiced its concerns regarding the EU alcohol strategy at the Second Open Forum on Alcohol and Health.
The 63rd World Health Assembly, which brought together Health Ministers and senior health officials from the World Health Organization (WHO) Member States, concluded business with delegates adopting resolutions on a variety of global health issues. One of the resolutions of particular interest to EASL was on Strategies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.
As the leading association of liver experts in Europe, the European Association for the Study of the Liver aims to promote increased awareness of and research about liver disease. We are also committed to playing our full role in the development of policy aimed at preventing liver disease.
Harmful alcohol consumption is now recognised as the 3rd biggest cause of early death and illness in the EU, just behind tobacco and high blood pressure. With the increasing prevalence of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer in Europe, caused by excessive and chronic alcohol consumption, we believe it is EASL's responsibility to inform decision-makers of this worrying trend and to put forward evidence-based solutions that will contribute to tackling the problem.
EASL welcomes the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s efforts to establish a Global Strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol and the European Union's adoption of an EU Alcohol Strategy. We also look forward to the reinforcement of the EU's powers on alcohol under the Lisbon Treaty, which specifically provides for the development of "incentive measures" aimed at protecting public health against the abuse of alcohol (Article 168(5) TFEU) - and thereby provides a stronger impetus for European Union action on the abuse of alcohol than ever before.