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Commission is right not to extend deal with Philip Morris


07 Jul 2016


Health & Consumers

The S&D Group in the European Parliament has welcomed the decision by Commissioner Georgieva to follow Parliament’s recommendation not to extend the agreement with Phillip Morris that was designed to help tackle smuggling and fraud of branded cigarettes. We are glad that Commissioner Georgieva agreed with the S&D Group that changes in the market and regulatory environment mean it is no longer the best means to fight against illicit tobacco.

S&D Group spokesperson for budget control Inés Ayala Sender, said:
"In March we made clear that although the previous agreement with Philip Morris had been useful in the fight against the smuggling of cigarettes, it was no longer the right tool for the job. Changes in the market mean that the biggest challenge we now face is not from bootlegged brand cigarettes but from unmarked cigarettes that are sold cheaply on the black market, known as 'cheap-whites'. The agreement with Philip Morris cannot help in the fight against these. We are therefore delighted that the Commission has followed our recommendations.
"Despite this welcome news, there is still work to be done. New regulatory tools such as the Tobacco Products Directive and the WHO protocol on tobacco will mean that deals such as the Philip Morris one are not necessary in the future. However, these are not yet in force and we would like to see the Commission put forward temporary measures in order to ensure there is no gap between this agreement ending and the new rules coming into force."

S&D Group spokesperson for the Tobacco Products Directive, Linda Mcavan, added:
"This decision is a huge victory for health campaigners working on tobacco control across the EU. Agreements with the tobacco industry are no answer in the fight against illicit trade and so I am pleased that the Commission are taking a firm stance. I hope this means the days when big tobacco companies have undue influence over policy making are now coming to an end."