The European Commission has confirmed that public health and alcohol policies remain the responsibility of national governments.

The Commission was responding to a House of Lords report on the EU Alcohol Strategy published in March 2015, which called for Europe to intervene and harmonise alcohol rules across Europe.

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We are very pleased that the Commission has listened to the representations we made and recognised that public health issues are best solved at a national level. Every country’s economy and culture is different and the EU’s strength is in its diversity – what works in Estonia or Luxembourg may not be right for Germany or the UK.

“It is far from clear that uniform rules are necessary or even desirable. Where the EU does have a role is in the supporting and promotion of best practice, with light touch regulation where goods or services are sold across borders.”

The Commission confirmed that a report is still being compiled into the issue of labelling on alcoholic bottles. If it takes action it could mean calories content information could be required on all labels by 2016.