EU Parliament votes to cut ties with Philip Morris International (PMI)

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: 

Factsheet on the PMI Agreement with the EU
About the WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products

News stories:

MEPs vote to end tobacco agreement – Irish Examiner

Parliament votes to cut ties with Philip Morris – EurActiv.com

Contact: Anca Toma Friedlaender, Senior Policy Advisor anca.toma@smokefreepartnership.eu +32 (0) 2 430 73 56
The SFP Coalition is a specialised network of more than 25 independent EU and national organisations with technical expertise in tobacco control policy created in 2014. Led by SFP, Coalition partners work together to promote and support smoking prevention through the development of advocacy strategies that deliver specific EU tobacco control policies as well as to promote and support smoking prevention at international, European and national level through the development and implementation of the FCTC, its
protocols and guidelines.
EPHA is a change agent – Europe’s leading NGO advocating for better health. We are a dynamic memberled organisation, made up of public health NGOs, patient groups, health professionals, and disease groups working together to improve health and strengthen the voice of public health in Europe. EPHA is a member of, among others, the Social Platform, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), and the EU Civil Society Contact Group.

MEPs vote to end tobacco agreement

 

A deal that puts the big tobacco companies in charge of preventing cigarette smuggling was like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse, the European Parliament and the World Health Organisation have warned.

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