Thursday

25th May 2017

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”.

MEPs split on tobacco deal with PMI

With less than five months until a deal with tobacco company PMI expires, MEPs and commissioner Georgieva discussed how to fight illegal cigarette trade after its expiration date.

EU states 'unlikely to block new tobacco deal'

Diplomatic sources from over half of the EU member states say they broadly back renewing an anti-smuggling agreement with tobacco firm PMI, which will expire in July.

Tobacco firms defend value of EU deals

With an EU anti-smuggling deal with Philip Morris due to expire, EUobserver talked to tobacco lobbyists from two competing firms that have similar arrangements.

News in Brief

  1. British PM to speak out on US terrorism leaks
  2. Tusk calls for 'values, not just interests' after Trump meeting
  3. Pressure grows on climate impact of EU timber harvesting
  4. US goes after Fiat Chrysler over emissions cheat
  5. Munich police break up Europe-wide burglar clan
  6. Report: VW threatened with €19.7 billion French fine
  7. Turkey begins mass trial of suspected coup leaders
  8. Merkel's CDU consolidates lead in polls

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms

Latest News

  1. EU to Trump: Defend Western values, not your interests
  2. Nato to join Trump's anti-IS coalition
  3. Trump expected to make Nato pledge
  4. Car-sharing's promise of clean cities
  5. Openness over Brexit is 'political play', says EU ombudsman
  6. Le Pen's EU group in fresh spending scandal
  7. New EU right to data portability to cause headaches
  8. Cyber threats are inevitable, paralyzing impact is not