Eurocare`s vision is a Europe where alcohol related harm is no longer one of the leading risk factors for ill-health, early death, violence and disability, where innocent third parties no longer suffer from the drinking of others and where the EU and its Member States recognise the harm done by alcohol and implement effective and comprehensive policies to tackle it.
Eurocare is recognized as the leading independent NGO on alcohol policies. Eurocare is unique in its role as the sole non-governmental organization specialised on alcohol policy working at European level.
The mission of Eurocare is to promote policies that prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm, through advocacy in the EU and WHO EURO.
Our message in regards to alcohol consumption is that "less is better".
To achieve its mission Eurocare seeks to influence policy makers, advocate effective and evidence based alcohol policies, monitor initiatives, monitor marketing practices of the alcohol industry, disseminate information and knowledge, publish reports and position papers.
Eurocare works with its members to influence the European Institutions and Member States to recognise and challenge the harm caused by alcohol with the aim of reducing the total alcohol consumption in Europe by 20% by 2020.
We envisage a Europe where children and young people are less affected by the harm done by alcohol, the minimum age for purchasing alcoholic beverages is 18 year, there is no marketing of alcoholic beverages targeting young people, blood alcohol level (BAL) for driving is 0,2 and it is properly enforced.
The following strategic objectives are needed to meet the above mentioned challenge:
1. To advocate towards the EU institutions for change.
� promote the recognition of the causality between the availability of alcohol and the levels of harm in society;
� Promote legislative and regulatory measures to prevent alcohol related harm;
� Raise awareness for a balanced and integrated strategy which combines information and education with alcohol control policies
� Facilitate the collection, collation, analysis, dissemination and utilization of data on alcohol consumption and related harm within the EU and other countries;
� Promote the development of alcohol prevention and rehabilitation strategies and programs appropriate to the needs of individuals and their environment;
� Promote a wide range of alcohol education and training programs for special target areas such as the workplace, schools and social and health care organizations;
2. To create an NGO network to influence the political processes at EU level
� Provide a forum for non - governmental organizations and institutions working in the field of preventing and reducing alcohol related harm;
� To create a platform for discussions and exchange of best practice;
� Establish, where possible, common ground and purpose;
� Provide a regular exchange of information;
� Seek co-operation with appropriate stakeholders and international agencies.
3. To attract member organizations and to support and inform existing members
� Foster among its members an understanding of social, cultural, economic and political responses to the use of alcohol throughout Europe;
Eurocare�s membership is the foundation of its existence, credibility and legitimacy. Maintenance, development, service and support to members are main-streamed into all activities. In order to perform its essential functions it is necessary for Eurocare to be adequately balanced and representative of the different strands of alcohol work and Member States. One of the main objectives is to build capacity to enable members to engage in decision making processes and increase the advocacy of evidence based policy at all levels, to actively foster cooperation and exchange of knowledge among members (and other NGOs).
A plan for expanding membership will be developed by the end of 2010.
In 2011 an advocacy course will be held for members in Brussels and a plan for expanding this will be discussed with the members.
Dissemination of information is one of Eurocare�s core activities. The secretariat will provide timely, accurate and useful information that supports the work of the members and facilitates the sharing of good practice. The main information tools are the website and the newsletter (see www.eurocare.org). Planning and preparations for including a database on the web site with good practice and literature database will be developed in 2011. The newsletter is bimonthly and includes information on EU policies/activities, updates from MS, the Secretariat and members etc). Policy briefings and reports are provided at the request of the board or the members (who are always consulted).
In 2011 advertising and marketing will be a key issue (including digital media). A major conference at the European Parliament is being planned together with the Irish MEP M Harkinn. Eurocare is also planning a mapping exercise of people`s exposure to alcohol marketing. The objective of the study is to do a snapshot of people�s experiences of alcohol marketing and see if there is a difference between age groups.
Eurocare will organize follow up activities of the Policy statement on alcohol accidents and injuries signed by 14 EU NGOs (Nov 2009) as particularly young men are in danger for accidents and violence and young women for sexual abuse. It is also estimated that 1 of 4 of all road traffic deaths involve alcohol.
The forthcoming 4th European Alcohol Policy conference will produce a number of protocols of action in different areas. The knowledge gathered needs to be fed into the relevant policy making processes, especially the forthcoming EU Alcohol Strategy from 2012.
Eurocare wishes to influence key decision makers in the EU, within both the MS and the EU Institutions, especially focusing on health in all policies, reminding policy makers of the harm done by alcohol and the need to put the health of citizens before the economic interests of a few. There are several issues that need continued attention; food information - labelling of alcoholic beverages (ingredient listing and kcal), health and safety warning labels on alcoholic beverages (no alcohol during pregnancy, no drink and drive,can be addictive, liver cirrhosis etc), volume of alcohol advertising and marketing, enforcement of age limits, availability and affordability, enforcement of BAL for drivers, taxation and price, improving health systems, getting good data from both MS/industry, supporting a global strategy.
Continued support from the secretariat is needed to engage and coordinate members` input into the activities of the EU Alcohol and Health Forum and the EU Health Policy forum.
The media play a key role at national and EU level in raising awareness of key public health issues. Eurocare needs to further engage with the media to raise the profile of the organization and its concerns. The majority of these activities will be taken by the Secretariat and the staff needs to be strengthened in order to follow this up.