Mayors are to get more power to intervene in the misuse of alcohol by under-age youngsters, home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst announced on Monday.
From January 1 2008 15 councils will take the lead in the new approach to the problem, with mayors and council officials able to fine anyone serving alcohol to children and even revoke licences. Dutch teenagers are among the heaviest drinkers in Europe.
The government already announced that councils will have the power to raise the legal drinking age from 16 to 18. ccording to Ter Horst this makes more sense than raising the age nationally as the seriousness of the problem varies from region to region.
The new alcohol policy also allows councils to fine under-age youngsters caught with alcohol in their possession on the street and to have them banned from cafés and discos. If supermarkets or snackbars continue to sell light alcoholic drinks to youngsters, mayors will be able to revoke their alcohol licence.
Efforts to ban the sale of premixed alcopops from supermarkets, which have run into trouble from EU rules, may succeed with the introduction of a super tax, family minister André Rouvoet said.
In addition, there is to be a ban on alcohol advertising on tv between 6am and 9pm.
Supermarkets have reacted by asking that the showing of ID cards when buying alcohol or tobacco be made compulsory, reports ANP news agency.
And STIVA, the organisation for responsible alcohol use, says that making under-age drinking a criminal offence is an important step, but that the legal age limit should be raised to 18 nationally.
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