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A view from Europe

On 03/06/13 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

Brewers of Europe (BoE), holds quarterly meetings of ‘Secretaries General’ (my equivalents). Last week, they met in Luxembourg and on Friday this was followed by the General Assembly which was also attended by BBPA Chairman Jonathan Neame.

Key issues of interest included previous studies undertaken by Ernst & Young on the economic contribution of beer to the European economy, which are about to be updated. Members raised the importance of the on-trade for sales of beer and the (relatively high) cost of production of beer, both of which were key components of our UK Budget submission. The next report will be more journalistic in tone, but will continue to provide key data from all states which make up the BoE membership.

Considerable time was spent discussing calorie and nutritional information. The current derogation for alcohol, which permits the voluntary declaration of calories and nutritional information, is due to expire in 2014 and members discussed a more front-foot approach to the Commission for on-pack and on-line. However this will be considered against a mandatory approach in 2014 by the Commission. Ultimately, it will be up to individual states to see how this might be implemented at a national level, but if voluntary information is to be provided, it will have to follow the rules for voluntary labelling per 100 ml.

Henri Malosse, the President of the Economic & Social Committee will be speaking at the Beer Serves Europe event at the end of the year. The ESC has become more important in recent years as a consultative committee within the EU.

The Brewers of Europe is taking an administrative complaint to the European Commission about duty rises in France, and is also working on combating proposals to ban the use of caramel in malt beverages. Discussions continue with OECD (which is undertaking a report on alcohol) and the World Health Organisation which has an alcohol strategy.

These are among the many issues where the Brewers of Europe provides eyes and ears across Europe, allowing us to share best practice on responsibility, economic and social issues on all or our agendas.


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