Gratifyingly, there is a tendency for general alcohol consumption in Europe to decline, but in the case of young people the opposite trend may be observed. Girls, in particular, are drinking more, and young people are drinking at earlier and earlier ages. This is indicated by an as yet unpublished report produced for the Commission. There are many causes. The social climate has become harsher, with unemployment and growing demands, but young people have also become more independent and have more money nowadays. The alcohol industry is naturally responding to all these trends and focusing on young people in the range of beverages it offers and in advertising.
One death in four in the 15-29 age group in Europe is due to alcohol-related road accidents, poisonings, suicides and murders, according to statistics supplied by the WHO, which is calling for higher taxes on alcohol in order to stem the trend. What will the Presidency do to alter this tragic trend in alcohol consumption among young people in Europe?