In an interview with Spanish newspaper ABC, Dolors Montserrat said she intends on introducing a new law designed to reduce underage consumption of alcohol in the country, where the legal drinking age is 18.
“I need to listen to all of the sectors involved. I want a law with the maximum consensus possible, because if not, it won't go forward and our children will continue to drink in the street,” she told ABC.
Montserrat's predecessors have struggled to pass effective alcohol legislation. But the Catalan, who became Spanish Health Minister when the conservative PP government was finally re-instated in November, suggested that fines could be used to make sure the proposed new law has an impact:
“The family will receive notice to attend an awareness course with their kid, similar to the ones for traffic offences. There will be some irresponsible parents who decline to go, and then, if the kid is a repeat offender, some kind of economic sanction may have to be considered.”
“Imagine if they are caught drinking five times and don't go to the course. Then, sanctions could be considered, but I don't want it to be a coercive law, rather, one of awareness,” Montserrat noted.
The minister added that she hopes Spaniards will become better at notifying the police if they spot youngsters drinking in public.
Underage drinking has been thrust into the spotlight in Spain recently following the high-profile case of a 12-year-old girl from Madrid who died on November 1st after she drank excessively at a Halloween party.