President Barroso Welcomes Brewing Sector Response to EU Economic Challenges

By Brewers Of Europe, PRNE
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

BRUSSELS, November 23, 2011 -

Europe needs fiscal belt-tightening coupled with growth-enhancing measures to pull itself out of crisis, including “smart regulation” that doesn’t shackle businesses like the brewing sector, European Commission President Jose-Manuel Barroso said, speaking at The Brewers of Europe’s EU headquarters Tuesday night.

“I would like to commend the efforts of your sector to introduce self-regulation to promote responsible beer advertising across Europe,” Barroso said. “Initiatives like this and pro-active involvement of industry representations are an excellent example.”

Europe’s brewers support some 2 million jobs and contribute €50 billion in taxes but face tough challenges as the economy risks another recession, said top executives, joining policy-makers and media at the gala.

Danuta Hübner, a leading Polish MEP and former European Commissioner for Regional Policy, said that Europe’s brewers “are active in Europe’s regions in all 27 Member States, for decades supporting programs promoting responsible drinking as well as backing thousands of local events that are part of Europe’s social fabric and regional identities.”

Alberto Da Ponte, The Brewers of Europe President said, “The brewing sector is emerging from a difficult period but we have embraced the Europe 2020 strategy. With the right support from policymakers, our sector can play a key role in Europe’s economic recovery and future growth.”

A panel session invited brewers and policymakers to discuss challenges the sector faces, including economic, tax and trade issues, sustainable consumption and production, higher taxes and curtailment of commercial communications.

SABMillers Europe CEO Alan Clark said, “The brewing sector has weathered the storm so far, but policymakers must be aware of the impact that further economic downturn combined with dramatically increasing taxes on beer may have.”

According to an independent report published in May this year, across Europe the 3,500 brewers, large and small, spend €1 billion annually supporting over 8,000 community and regional events and activities, including in the areas of the arts, culture, innovation and science, as well as sport.

The gala included a presentation of the ‘Faces of Brewing’ photo contest winner and a networking gourmet dinner prepared by Eurotoques, representing 4,000 chefs across Europe. The reception also featured beers from Poland in honour of the country’s rotating EU presidency.  

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