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Centers for European Policy: the Irish label is reasonable, but must be uniform

The decision of the Study Centre, the Italian Minister Lollobrigida has opposed, rewards the Dublin initiative: “it should be implemented throughout Europe”
The Irish label

Ireland will be the first European Union country to ensure, starting in 2026, that all alcoholic products will carry comprehensive labeling concerning the health risks of alcohol consumption, including warnings about the risk of developing cancer, following the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly’s signature of May 22, 2023 on the Public Health (Alcohol) (Labelling) Regulations 2023 and the remaining provisions of Section 12 of Ireland’s Public Health (Alcohol) Act. Under the legislation, the labels on alcoholic products in Ireland will include important information, such as calorie content and grams of alcohol, but also highlighted warnings about the risks associated with drinking alcohol during pregnancy, as well as the dangers of liver disease and alcohol-induced cancer.
The Centers for European Policy Network, a specialized study center on European policies, specifically oriented to economic and legal expertise, has stated that the Irish label is substantially reasonable, but has called for its uniform introduction throughout the European Union.
“In the light of the health, social and economic risks of alcohol, the Irish initiative should be implemented throughout Europe”, Andrea De Petris, jurist and scientific director of the Center for European Policy in Rome, said. He examined the consequences of the Irish initiative on the EU, together with the health expert of the CEP in Freiburg, Nathalja Nolen, and the economist of the CEP in Paris, Victor Warhem, contained in the report, “The labeling of alcohol in the European Union - How to deal with the impact of the Irish rules on the labeling of alcohol in order to benefit public health and the European internal market?”.
Warhem believes that other types of solutions would force small producers out of business because they would not be able to afford to produce diversified labels and tags. “A uniform label is not only in the interest of health, but it is also beneficial for the European internal market”, De Petris concluded. According to CEP experts, the Commission's tacit acceptance of the Irish initiative signifies that European companies that want to continue supplying spirits and wines to Ireland will have no other choice, in the medium term, but to adopt that label. Otherwise, they will have to give up exports worth eight billion euros a year. “Furthermore, according to now unanimous scientific research, alcohol consumption can cause enormous damage to health. In this context, a uniform label for the entire European Union would make the most sense”, Nathalja Nolen emphasized, who believes that the label would make an important contribution to health protection.
The Minister of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry, Francesco Lollobrigida, as one might easily imagine, has a completely different opinion, and he reiterated that “the labeling with health warnings on alcohol is not “reasonable”, as the CEP in Rome has declared, and together with the Center for European Policies in Paris and Freiburg, analyzed the new rules Ireland proposed. As a matter of fact, this system risks instead being a conditioning and discriminatory element, having the sole aim of stigmatizing a main product of Italian exports: wine This measure cannot be extended to the entire internal market of the European Union because, as the CEP stated, a judge could not express his opinion on this new model. It is clear that the new Irish labels will not be intended to inform properly. We will defend our products of excellence from the aggression of illogical labeling, and we will furthermore continue to implement all possible actions, starting with promotion, to immediately explain the benefits that derive from moderate consumption of wine”, Minister Lollobrigida concluded.

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