Baltic countries agree on alcohol policy cooperation
Baltic health ministries at a meeting in Vilnius on Tuesday, May 16, agreed on common plans for developing alcohol, tobacco and healthy eating policies, which include exchanging information and experiences related to imposing restrictions on the accessibility of alcohol, equalization of tobacco products and engaging in cooperation with the food industry.
The agreed policies will help to alleviate the mortality rate associated with noncommunicable diseases in the Baltics, which is still one of the highest in the European Union, the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs said.
Estonian Minister of Health and Labor Jevgeni Ossinovski said that the meeting confirmed that the three Baltic countries under the leadership of Lithuania and Estonia are ready to take ambitious steps towards improving the health of the population and to move towards the Nordic countries when it comes to their national health policy.
"The problems and challenges in public health are similar in all three countries. Implementation of the proposals made by the World Health Organization, including an increase in excise duty, have helped improve health indicators and decrease illness and death," Ossinovski said. "At the same time, we are far away from the Nordic countries, whose social policy and practice to prevent illness are an example for all three Baltic countries.“
The parties also agreed on common plans to develop and implement policies that would lessen alcohol and tobacco consumption and increase healthy eating.
The Minister of Health and Labor Jevgeni Ossinovski met in Vilnius on Wednesday with the Lithuanian Minister of Health Aurelijus Veryga and Karlis Ketners, State Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Health.