A swilling figure that's unchanged since four years back, three out of four Europeans have consumed alcohol in the last year.

Sweden rose only to second place, as the tallies showed the largest percentages of respondents who swilled alcohol are found in Denmark (93%), Sweden (90%) and the Netherlands (88%). The driest crowds are in Portugal (58%), Italy (60%) and Hungary (64%).

Encompassing 26,788 people in the 27 EU nations, the statistics appeared on a recent survey, now posted on the Internet, that was requested by the EU Directorate General Health and Consumers.

A clearer viewpoint of drinkers was determined by the frequency and quantity for those inbibing.

Through the EU in the past 12 months, 84% of males consumed alcoholic drinks, compared to 68% of females. Of EU citizens who said that they drank in the last month, nearly three quarters reported drinking once a week, and 14% reported daily drinking. Most of the frequent drinking group reported an average of 3-4 days per week. Most EU alcohol consumers (69%) usually had 2 drinks or less in each session. However, 10% claimed to usually have 5 drinks or more.

An 89% majority supported an 18 year age limit, although 77% thought that alcohol advertising targeting young people should be banned in the EU. Also notable, persons over 55 years are more likely to drink daily than young people in the 15-24 age group.

Nearly everybody answering the poll believed that alcohol can contribute to liver diseases but fewer (in Sweden, 56%) were aware of the cancer risks. Regarding the risk of depression, the greatest awareness is in Ireland (92%), Finland and Sweden (both 91%).

Pollsters worried when figures revealed that 14% thought people could still drive after having more than two drinks during two hours. The highest percentages of respondents who seem to play down the drunk driving risks are in Cyprus (38%), Luxembourg (37%), Belgium (36%) and France (32%).

Upon learning that Sweden had finished only as a second place runner up in the alcohol consumption 'competition,' stool warmers at a downtown Stockholm bar assured that they would try harder in the next four years to beat the Danish leadership at glass hoisting.

Source: http://ec.europa.eu/health/alcohol/docs/ebs_331_en.pdf

More on the Swedish tradition of 'kräftskivor' - crayfish parties in August: http://www.nordstjernan.com/news/traditions/675/