The UKCTAS along with over 30 other health organisations, applaud the European Parliament’s stand against tobacco industry agreements!
This week the European Parliament adopted a Resolution stating that the European Commission should not renew, extend or renegotiate the Agreement with Phillips Morris International (PMI) beyond its current date of expiry in July 2016.
The arrangement, in force for the last 12 years, was designed to reduce the illegal trade in tobacco within the EU and to make up some of the lost customs duty, estimated to cost EU countries some €10 to €12 billion per year.
Following the same logic, the EU then concluded similar agreements with Japan Tobacco in 2007 and British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco in 2010. These agreements are still in force.
The resolution was adopted by a strong majority of 414 votes in favour, 214 against, and 66 abstentions. The paragraph explicitly calling on the Commission to reject any extensions garnered an even stronger majority of 432 votes. Whether to renew the PMI agreement is currently under active consideration by the European Commission and a decision is due shortly, so the resolution is timely.
The European Parliament’s vote may not be binding, but MEPs hope it will influence the Commission’s decision on whether to extend the agreement, due to be announced next Wednesday (16 March).
“I can’t imagine that the Commission will ignore the Parliament’s opinion on this subject. In delegating responsibility for the regulation of tobacco products to the manufacturers themselves, it is clearly creating a conflict of interests,” said Françoise Grossetête, a French Republican MEP (EPP group).
The Smoke Free Partnership (SFP) together with more than 30 public health organisations across Europe urge the European Commission to respect the strong political message sent by this resolution. We call on the Commission to focus its efforts on promoting the ratification and implementation of the WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products as well as the implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive – both appropriate tools to combat illicit trade in tobacco. Any further move towards a renewal of tobacco industry agreements risks damaging the EU’s global reputation among governments struggling to combat illicit tobacco trade.
“Today, MEPs said it loud and clear: public health of European citizens is not negotiable and we cannot entrust it to the tobacco industry. We hope that the European Commission will listen to the European Parliament’s decision and say NO to any possible extension. There are better means available to fight illicit trade: the Tobacco Products Directive and the WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products. Instead of weakening them through industry agreements, the EU should focus its political efforts and resources towards implementing these tools.”
Florence Berteletti, Director of the Smoke Free Partnership
The Smoke Free Partnership and health organisations in Europe remain strongly committed to promoting effective measures for combating the illicit tobacco trade.
More information at:
MEPs vote to end tobacco agreement – Irish Examiner
Parliament votes to cut ties with Philip Morris – EurActiv.com