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Greeks Cut Down on Drinking: Alcohol Consumption Drop Highest in EU

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Greeks cut alcohol consumption by 32% during the previous decade. Credit: Greek Reporter

Greeks drastically cut down on alcohol consumption during the 2010 to 2019 decade, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said in a report released on Monday.

Greece ranks in the penultimate position of the European list, exhibiting the biggest decrease in alcohol consumption (-32 percent) apart from the war-torn Ukraine which was last on the list.

The economic crisis that hit Greece in the previous decade and resulted in strict austerity measures is probably the reason for the spectacular drop in alcohol consumption.

Greeks also cut alcohol consumption during the pandemic

In addition, according to a recent study, Greece’s alcohol consumption declined dramatically over the course of the coronavirus lockdown.

Perhaps one of the reasons that drinking decreased so starkly in Greece is because of the Greeks’ attitudes towards it. Greeks generally see drinking as a social activity and may have stopped drinking when they could no longer gather with friends at a bar or restaurant due to coronavirus restrictions.

British lose top spot

The British, who for years consumed the most alcohol in Europe, were not only displaced by the Latvians but fell several places in the OECD list during the specified decade.

Britons consumed 9.7 liters of alcohol per adult in 2020, which is 0.1 percent less than the EU average. The French over the age of fifteen now consume 10.4 liters of alcohol per year while the Germans consume 10.6 liters.

At the same time, Latvia tops the OECD with 12.1 liters per adult annually. The Baltic country is followed by the Czech Republic (11.6 liters), Lithuania (11.4 liters), Austria (11.3), and Bulgaria (11.2).

The lowest rate is recorded in Turkey, where, as a Muslim country, the consumption of alcohol is mostly prohibited. Just 1.2 liters of alcohol per person annually were sold there.

Ukraine saw the biggest drop in alcohol consumption from 7.8 liters per person in 2010 to 5.7 liters in 2019. Before Putin’s war began, the drop was 37 percent.

Latvia had the biggest increase over the last decade (19 percent) followed by Malta and Bulgaria (both 13 percent) as well as Norway (11 percent).

As the OECD report points out: “Many European countries have implemented a range of measures to reduce alcohol consumption, such as taxation, restrictions on alcohol availability and bans on alcohol advertising…But their effectiveness is hampered by poor implementation of rules and limited resources.”

How alcohol consumption has changed in Greece and Europe

Latvia + 19%
Malta + 13%
Bulgaria + 13%
Norway + 11%
North Macedonia + 9%
Poland + 9%
Romania + 9%
Italy + 9%
Iceland + 8%
Moldova + 7%
Czech Republic + 2%
Sweden +1
Montenegro 0

Slovakia -2%
Hungary -4%
Britain -4%
Slovenia -5%
average of “27” in the EU, -6%
Austria -7%
Luxembourg -8%
Estonia -9%
Portugal -9%
Germany -9%
Albania -11%
Denmark -11%
Croatia -11%
Belgium -12%
Switzerland -12%
Cyprus -18%
France -18%
Finland -18%
Lithuania -18%
Serbia -19%
Ireland- 22%
Turkey- 25%
Spain -26%
Netherlands – 26%
Greece -32%
Ukraine -37%

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