Wednesday

27th Jul 2016

MEPs urge EU commission to end Philip Morris deal

  • EU states seized €460 million worth of cigarettes last year, counted in terms of lost tax revenue (Photo: HM Revenue & Customs)

The European Parliament has called on the European Commission to end its agreement with tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI).

Four hundred and fourteen MEPs voted against the deal in Strasbourg on Wednesday (9 March), 214 backed it and 66 abstained.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Michel Petite (r), a senior EU official, negotiated the Philip Morris deal before joining the private sector to lobby EU institutions on tobacco (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

The tobacco accord, which is to expire in July, made the EU and PMI into partners in the fight against cigarette smuggling. It was agreed 12 years ago and involved PMI payments of about €1 billion to the EU and member states.

The commission in its assessment of the deal on 24 February said it “effectively met its objective.” It added that changes in the market and legal framework cast doubt on its future relevance, however.

Parliament has no formal say in the matter. But in political terms, the commission would need strong reasons to defy the MEPs.

“The voice of parliament has to be heard now,” Spanish centre-left MEP Ines Ayala Sender told EUobserver after the vote.

She said that the parliament asked the EU commission to find ways to substitute PMI’s anti-smuggling resources in the coming years.

PMI told this website by e-mail that “what matters most is that the supply chain control measures contained within the agreement are continued”.

“The ongoing debate continues to be focused on opposition among parties pro- and against the renewal of the agreement, rather than on pragmatic solutions to win the real fight against illicit trade in the EU,” it said.

Belgian Green MEP Bart Staes said in a press release after the vote that it sent “a clear political message against renewing the PMI agreement”.

“This vote should serve as a shot across the bows to elements within the EU commission pushing for negotiations to begin,” he said.

The commissioner in charge of the PMI file, Kristalina Georgieva, told this website in Strasbourg on Wednesday, before the EP vote, that the commission is “very carefully listening to all arguments, from all stakeholders”.

EU to tweak rules on Chinese 'dumping'

The EU Commission has tried to fudge the issue of whether China is a “market economy” amid efforts to protect European industry from cheap exports.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceWhat's New in the Investment Plan for Europe: Business as Usual or True Innovation ?
  2. Belgrade Security ForumMigration, Security and Solidarity within Global Disorder: Academic Event 2016
  3. GoogleHow Google Fights Piracy: Creating Value While Fighting Piracy
  4. EJC"My Visit to Israel" - Opinion by MEP Lopez Aguilar, Chair of the EP Working Group on Antisemitism
  5. World VisionChildren Migrating, Out of School and at Work as Hunger Deepens in Southern Africa
  6. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStand-Up (and Exercise) to Prevent Chronic Diseases
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersLaunches a Real-time News Hub Specialised in EU Stakeholders
  8. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen Calls for International Probe Into Turkey Coup Allegations
  9. GoogleEU-US Privacy Shield: Restoring Faith in Data Flows and Transatlantic Relations
  10. World VisionWorld Leaders & Youth Advocates Launch Partnership to End Violence Vs. Children
  11. Counter BalanceReport: Institutionalised Corruption in Romania's Third Largest Company
  12. GoogleLearn about Google's projects across Europe on Twitter @GoogleBrussels