Tomorrow, Thursday 9 December, the European Parliament’s Committee to Combat Cancer (BECA) will hold a special committee to vote on the adoption of the report “Strengthening Europe in the fight against cancer – towards a global and coordinated strategy”. 

While AREV welcomes the fact that the Parliament studies the causes and seeks to fight against Cancer, it wishes to draw its attention to the compromise amendment concerning paragraph 11 which adds more confusion than clarity, compared to the initial text drafted by the rapporteur.  This is what AREV has made known through a communication addressed to the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who are part of this Committee, before the vote to be held tomorrow.

As stated in the paragraph with the latest amendments:

§11. Recalls that ethanol and acetaldehyde from ethanol metabolism in alcoholic beverages are classified as carcinogenic to humans by the IARC, and that in Europe an estimated 10% of all cancer cases in men and 3% of all cancer cases in women are attributable to alcohol consumption;1 underlines that the lower the amount of alcohol consumed, the lower the risk of developing cancer is; 

recalls that alcohol consumption is a risk factor for many different cancers, such as oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colorectal and female breast cancer;

recalls the study referred to by WHO which recognises that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption when it comes to cancer prevention, and stresses the need to take this into account when devising and implementing cancer prevention policy;

The AREV considers that this paragraph leads to confusion between high-proof alcoholic beverages and wine. This amendment is worrying because it stigmatises wine consumption, contradicting the opinion of the scientific community, which considers the benefits of moderate wine consumption in a Mediterranean diet.

AREV considers that the failure to distinguish consumption levels sends an unclear message to consumers and does not provide them with a qualified message about the real risks to their health.

The notion of responsible consumption must be at the heart of prevention policies and the fight against excessive consumption

Communication-based on prevention and moderation of consumption will be much more effective than a policy of prohibition. 

By attacking all forms of consumption, including the weakest ones, it threatens a part of European culture, which is part of the Mediterranean Diet, recognised as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, and jeopardising the entire socio-economic fabric of rural areas and our landscapes, as well as denying the pleasure, sharing and conviviality that can be associated with wine consumption.

Wine is an integral part of the European art of living and represents the excellence of the European productions with a strong link with the territory and the European regions.

On the basis that AREV fully agrees with the need to promote responsible wine consumption, it has requested the support of the members of the European Parliament, members of the Committee, to ensure that the compromise on paragraph 11 is not adopted as it is currently worded, but that it is modified beforehand, to introduce the distinction between responsible consumption and harmful use of alcohol.