Home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst needs a lesson in law making and stronger nerves. Not yet 100 days in office she has begun to panic, proposing a ban on alcohol sales for those under 18. A ban that critics say will be impossible to enforce and which has no support in parliament.

The reason that it has not been welcomed with open arms is that the government has failed to enforce the current age limit of 16 and society already broadly accepts alcohol consumption for 16 and 17 year olds.
One can understand the minister’s panic: a recent survey showed that Dutch youngsters consume more alcohol than those in any other European country except Ireland. Boozing is also prevalent among kids aged under 16.
But this problem is not something that a tougher ban is going to solve. Ter Horst should focus her attention on parents who turn a blind eye to their drunken teenagers stumbling home. Almost half the parents in the Netherlands accept alcohol consumption by teenagers.
A former mayor, Ter Horst should take her cue from local councils which have launched a new campaign to confront parents with their drunken rabble-rousing teenagers.
Perhaps local councils should go further and fine parents that fail to control their children in this respect. Parental responsibility is the key. Not new drinking laws. Cheers!

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