Tuesday

10th Dec 2019

Tobacco giant initiates EU court challenge

  • Around 700,000 people die from smoking-related illnesses in the EU every year, says the European Commission (Photo: Kino Praxis)

Tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI) wants to challenge new EU rules on tobacco to see if it can get the stricter labelling requirements changed.

The Marlboro manufacturer on Friday (27 June) said the EU’s new tobacco products directive “appears to ban truthful and non-misleading claims on the packaging of tobacco products”.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

“PMI intends to seek review of whether this ban respects the fundamental rights of consumers to information about the products they are choosing,” it added.

The EU’s reformed directive says cigarette packages must have “smoking kills – quit now” and “tobacco smoke contains over 70 substances known to cause cancer” labels.

The new labels replace the current printing of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide (TNCO) levels.

Tobacco consumption is said to kill up to 700,000 people every year in the EU and is the EU’s single largest avoidable health risk.

Launched in May, the new EU directive seeks to reduce the number of smokers by further restricting tobacco use, flavourings, and adverts.

It imposes a four-year phase-out on menthols and sets a maximum nicotine concentration level for e-cigarettes, among other rules.

The Swiss-based multinational also has other grievances with the new EU tobacco law.

It says the directive will disrupt the internal market when it comes to tobacco, provoke the illegal trade of menthol cigarettes, and give the European Commission too many discretionary powers.

“The directive includes a mix of product bans, mandates, and delegations of authority that raise serious questions under the EU Treaties about consumer choice, the free movement of goods, and competition,” said PMI in a statement.

PMI filed the case in England because its courts are a “fast and efficient forum for private litigants” when it comes to cases in the lead up to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

A judicial review on EU laws must first be held at the national level before it can be referred to the Luxembourg court.

PMI senior vice president Marc Firestone noted the multinational agrees to strict regulation on tobacco but that the latest EU law needs to “honour the EU treaties”.

The judicial review could take up to three years, says the company.

MEPs restrict child-friendly tobacco products

New EU-wide rules to curb smoking are likely over the summer, as MEPs backed a bill to restrict tobacco flavourings, adverts, and the sale of electronic cigarettes.

MEPs mark Violence Against Women day with urgent call

According to liberal MEP Anna Júlia Donáth, "violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations existing today and remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, and shame surrounding it."

Feature

Malmo, a segregated city - separating fact from fiction

Despite the neighbourhood's beautiful name, the reputation of Rosengård (Rose Garden) does not so much evoke images of roses as headlines of crime and social challenges. This area of Malmö has been struggling with its notorious, mythical, image for years.

NGO reveals German firms fail to meet UN human rights rule

A new report reveals that the biggest companies in Germany fail to manage measures to protect their employees and supply-chain from human rights abuses - ahead of the government deadline for introducing tough new regulation.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs: Finnish budget proposal 'impossible to implement'
  2. EP committee supports 'Future of EU Conference'
  3. EU survey: climate change must be parliament's priority
  4. Zahradil resigns as rapporteur on EU-Vietnam trade deal
  5. Russia plans 'Arctic Air Defence" with S-400 missiles
  6. Belgium: King does another round of consultations
  7. Thousands protest Orban's theatre clampdown
  8. Russia and Ukraine agree ceasefire by new year

Stakeholder

FIFA's schools programme aims to reach 700m children

Football clubs today invest huge sums of money in youth development and court talented young players from an early age. Children are the future – not only where football is concerned, but also for society in general.

Opinion

A fundamental contradiction in EU drug policy

The knock-on affects from a 'war on drugs' in Europe is creating problems in Albania - and as far afield as Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us