7 December 2022; IOGT-NTO; Movendi International
A new report published by IOGT-NTO and Movendi International, maps and describes the alcohol industry in the EU. It concludes that Big Alcohol operates a large lobby apparatus in the EU institutions with the aim to affect EU policy.
The results show that the alcohol industry has met with the EU Commission 270 times between 2014 – 2022, compared to 14 meetings for civil society.
“The results are alarming, but expected. The alcohol industry is still getting uncritically invited to consult on public health policy despite the fact that they have an inherent conflict of interest since they profit on a product that causes considerable harm to the citizens of Europe, says Emil Juslin, European Policy Officer at IOGT-NTO.
The report further describes and discusses the practices of the alcohol industry in EU policy. It describes an industry that takes every opportunity to dilute health messages as well as undermine or stall progress on effective health policy.
“The results are very similar to how the industry acts nationally and is also very similar to how Big Tobacco acts. It also shows why the alcohol industry should not be consulted on health policy. Inviting the tobacco industry to discuss public health policy today would be seen as absurd. Unfortunately, the alcohol industry is still not seen with the same critical eye.”, Juslin continues.
The report concludes that the large industry presence likely steers European health policy away from health objectives in favour of commercial interests.
“Companies simply have more resources to put into lobbying, as they see it as an investment that they can get a return on if a policy turns out well. Civil society organisations are already underfunded and it is therefore very hard to match the lobbying efforts of the industry. This is a serious risk if the situation is left unanswered since fringe commercial interests get a stronger voice than the voice for the well-being of the people.”, Juslin concludes.
- Big Alcohol met with top-level EU Commission officials 270 times between 2014-2022. During the same time period civil society had 14 meetings.
- The alcohol industry estimates that they spend over €9 million on EU lobbying every year.
- The alcohol industry is estimated to have the equivalent of 95 full-time lobbyists working on lobbying the EU institutions.
- Observations of the industry’s lobbying strategies show that the industry aims to take up space in policy debates, shift focus from health issues and undermine science and evidence-based policy solutions.
Contact Emil Juslin