Against the background of papers and discussions from the East-West seminar at the European Conference on Health, Society and Alcohol, the differences and similarities in eastern and western European transformation processes are discussed. After some remarks on the general nature of eastern transition and western integration, the two sides of Europe are compared with respect to various alcohol-specific issues. It will be shown that the ongoing transition touches alcohol-related phenomena on a broad spectrum, and no single characterization (e.g. commercialization and the rise of market interests) is sufficient alone. The changing balance between state, markets and civil society provides, however, an interesting perspective for comparing alcohol-related changes in various European societies. Finally, the prospects for a common European alcohol agenda are discussed briefly from the point of view of international mobilization on the dimensions of state, markets and civil society. There are signs of increased cooperation along all dimensions, but an all-European alcohol agenda seems unlikely.