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Health Ministers in Riga agree on the need of common EU nutrition and alcohol policies


Photo: (C)
Riga, 21 April 2015 — On 20-21 April the informal meeting of Health Ministers and Heads of Delegation from the European Union, European Economic Area and European Union candidate countries took place in Riga to discuss factors affecting public health.
  • Media programme - *pdf.
  • Dr. Guntis Belēvičs, Minister for Health - video 
  • Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe - video

The video and photo from Informal Meeting of the Ministers for Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs are available here:

  • Video from meeting 20.04.2015. are available here.
  • Photo from meeting 20.04.2015. are available here.
  • Video from meeting 21.04.2015. are available here.
  • Photo from meeting 21.04.2015. are available here.
The Health Ministers and Heads of Delegation discussed the need for a new policy framework for reducing alcohol-related harm, and the EU’s role in the creating of a general standard for the international market and the in harmonisation of national policies.
Latvian Health Minister Guntis Belēvičs stressed: ”Health care issues in the European Union are certainly a national competence. At the same time, it is our duty and challenge to jointly strengthen and harmonise the key factors affecting public health. Better health and quality of life is the common goal for European countries to be achieved, setting an example for the rest of the world.”
The Health Ministers confirmed that the five EU Alcohol Strategy priorities — price and tax measures, marketing and availability restrictions of alcoholic beverages, legal measures to reduce drunk driving, and the raising of public awareness — are still very important. In order to achieve the objectives set out in the global non-infectious diseases mitigation plan on reducing alcohol-related harm by 10 percent, it is important to continue to work together.
The Health Ministers also discussed the nutrition policy and the need for a common framework to limit the number of trans-fatty acids and reduce the amount of sugar in foodstuffs. In relation to food additives, a topic was raised about the need for an additional study regarding the influence of food additives to human body and the assessment of combined risk impact on human health.
The nutrition and food policies in the EU should be designed to protect public health and promote healthy eating on a daily basis. The responsible authorities and institutions should pay attention to and work on ensuring the availability of healthy and safe food that contributes to human development, especially children.”
Due to the recent tragic event concerning refugees that took place in the Mediterranean, the problem of migration was also raised. The Ministers agreed that a common solution for this issue needs to be found by addressing its causes and also taking into account its health aspects.