S&D Group will not back extension of agreement with Philip Morris on illicit tobacco
The S&D Group in the European Parliament is against the extension of an agreement with Philip Morris that was designed to help tackle smuggling and fraud of branded cigarettes. The Group believes that although the agreement has been useful, changes in the market and regulatory environment mean it is no longer the best means to continue the fight against illicit tobacco.
Inés Ayala Sender MEP and S&D Group spokesperson for budget control, said:
"The agreement with Philip Morris was innovative and a useful tool in the fight against the smuggling of cigarettes when it was first introduced. However, this agreement has run its course and we are opposed to its renewal or extension. Changes in the market and regulatory environment mean that the agreement is no longer the best tool to fight bootlegging or smuggling of tobacco products.
"The biggest challenges we now face in the fight against illicit tobacco is not bootlegged brand cigarettes but unmarked cigarettes that are sold cheaply on the black market, known as 'cheap-whites'. The deal with Philip Morris cannot help in the fight against these and this is why we request the Commission to come forward urgently with an action plan to tackle this problem.
"The development of new regulatory tools also makes the extension unnecessary - with the Tobacco Products Directive and the WHO protocol on tobacco control coming into force in the near future. However, before these are fully operational, we call on the Commission to put forward temporary measures in order to ensure there is no gap between the end of this agreement and new rules coming into force."