Wednesday

26th Jun 2019

Binge drinking trend hits European youth

  • Teenage binge drinking is increasing all over Europe, the study says (Photo: European Commission)

Binge drinking - drinking for the sake of getting drunk - is reaching alarming levels among European teenagers, a major new study has revealed.

"The phenomenon of binge drinking among European youth is about to be established all over the continent," one of the report's authors, Peter Anderson, told Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet in Geneva.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"All signs show that the trend will continue," he said.

The report, carried out by the London Institute of Alcohol Studies on behalf of the European Commission, is part of research that will underlie a commission communication on alcohol policy, due in the latter half of 2006.

The study looked at trends across the EU.

In Estonia, the number of 15-16 year-old girls that binge drink at least three times a month tripled between 1995 and 2003, the study found.

In Germany, almost a fifth of teenagers aged 12-17 have been "blind drunk" or drunk to the point of losing consciousness during the last month.

The report explains that, while total alcohol consumption per capita in Europe is decreasing, drinking patterns among teenagers show the opposite trend.

Teenagers, and in particular young girls, across the whole bloc drink large amounts of alcohol several times a month, and the average age for the first drink has fallen from 15 years for the parent generation to 11.8 years for the teenagers of today.

While southern Europeans traditionally have incorporated drinking with eating and found open drunkenness embarrassing, the current trend is that young people in the south are adopting a Northern European-type tradition of drinking with the simple intention of getting drunk.

The new study, to be published later this spring, compares member states' alcohol consumption patterns and is the largest of its sort made in the EU.

Member states impose tougher rules

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Europeans drink twice as much as people on other continents, with an alcohol-related annual death toll of over 600,000.

Alcohol is the third biggest killer after smoking and high blood pressure, commission statistics state.

The commission in 2003 called for harmonising EU member states' approach to the damage caused by alcohol.

Despite opposition from the drinks industry and alcohol-producing countries, the commission is expected to later this year recommend a rise in member states' taxes on alcohol, including wine and beer.

The commission does however not have legislative powers in public health matters.

The stricter policy proposed by Brussels is seen as a response to insufficient self-regulation on the part of alcohol producers.

Other expected proposals include more information about the amount of alcohol and calories in drinks, especially in those popular among young people, as well as restrictions on their advertising.

EU parliament backs whistleblower law

MEPs backed an EU law to protect whistleblowers from retaliation in both the public and private sectors. EU states will have two years to transpose the directive.

EU commission to map gender recognition

The European Commission will start looking at how EU states determine genders - as part of an effort to make it easier for people to determine their own identities.

EU to propose scrapping summer time change

Based on the preliminary results of an online survey in which mostly Germans took part, the EU executive is proposing that the whole EU stops changing times in March and October.

Investigation

How to get around the EU posted workers directive

Some EU careworkers in Belgium receive around €400 a month - despite their carers paying €2,500 a month and paying for flights and accommodation. The answer lies in how firms can skirt the safeguards in the EU's posted workers directive.

News in Brief

  1. EU warns Turkey as 'Gezi Park' trials begin
  2. EU universities to share students, curricula
  3. Migrant rescue ship loses Human Rights Court appeal
  4. Denmark completes social democrat sweep of Nordics
  5. Johnson offers 'do or die' pledge on Brexit
  6. Weber indirectly attacks Macron in newspaper op-ed
  7. EU to sign free trade deal with Vietnam
  8. EU funding of air traffic control 'largely unnecessary'

Stakeholder

FIFA's schools programme aims to reach 700m children

Football clubs today invest huge sums of money in youth development and court talented young players from an early age. Children are the future – not only where football is concerned, but also for society in general.

Opinion

A fundamental contradiction in EU drug policy

The knock-on affects from a 'war on drugs' in Europe is creating problems in Albania - and as far afield as Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  4. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  6. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  7. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  8. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  9. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate

Latest News

  1. EU moves to end car-testing 'confidentiality clause'
  2. EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs
  3. Europe's rights watchdog lifts Russia sanctions
  4. EU-Vietnam trade deal a bad day for workers' rights
  5. EU 'special envoy' going to US plan for Palestine
  6. Polish judicial reforms broke EU law, court says
  7. EU study: no evidence of 'East vs West' food discrimination
  8. Russia tried to stir up Irish troubles, US think tank says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us