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Irish, Brits and Swedes 'all big binge drinkers'

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14:22 CET+01:00
Ireland, Britain and the EU's three Nordic members make up the five most prolific drinking countries in the Union.

A new Eurobarometer survey shows that 16 percent of Swedes fall into the binge drinking zone, knocking back at least five drinks when they decide to indulge in some beer, wine or spirits. This puts Sweden in fifth place behind Ireland, Finland, UK and Denmark.

The majority of respondents in the EU reported having 1-2 drinks on an occasion where they consume alcohol (59%). Sweden has 51 percent in this bracket. The number of Swedes who reported having 3 to 4 drinks amounted to 29 percent, which was second highest in the Union.

Ireland was shown to have the highest proportion of big drinkers by quite some margin, topping both the 3 to 4 (36%) and 5+ (34%) categories.

The EU Commission requested the poll "in order to obtain a picture of EU citizens' alcohol drinking habits and their attitudes towards measures potentially influencing alcohol related harm".

In total, three quarter of EU citizens said they had consumed alcoholic drinks over the previous 12 months.

Public opinion is divided on who bears responsibility for protecting citizens from alcohol related harm, with 52 percent replying that individuals were responsible and 44 percent placing the burden of responsibility in the hands of public authorities.

Price is not regarded to be a major factor in the development of drinking habits. Two thirds of respondents did not believe that higher prices would serve to discourage either young people or heavy drinkers.

Finns deviated from the norm here, with 60 percent citing higher prices as an effective disincentive. Swedes were considerably more sceptical. Just 25 percent felt that people might be put off by more expensive drinks.

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