Why has tobacco directive been postponed? Ask Greens
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A crucial vote of the European Parliament on revised EU legislation on tobacco products, which was foreseen for this week, has been postponed to next October.
Alternattiva Demokratika in a statement today said that “the leaders of the main centre-right political groups in the European Parliament (EPP, ALDE and ECR) colluded to postpone the vote on the EU tobacco directive.”
Prof. Arnold Cassola, Alternattiva Demokratika Chairperson, said: “It is ironic that while the major electoral platform for Commissioner Tonio Borg was his promise to ensure that the Tobacco Directive would go through before the end of this European Parliament in April 2014, his colleagues from the European Popular Party (EPP) were on the forefront to ensure that the agreed timetable would be derailed. What is going on behind all this?”
Greens/EFA co-president in the European Parliament Rebecca Harms stated, “The centre-right political groups, led by the EPP, have shamelessly done the bidding of the tobacco industry in postponing the vote on the tobacco directive.
“There should be no doubt: this is a cynical exercise designed to buy time for the tobacco lobby, with a view to watering down the draft legislation. This is all the more outrageous as it was the European Parliament that had pushed the Commission to deliver the proposal as soon as possible.”
She pointed out that “the timetable in the EP was agreed amongst all groups at the beginning of the year and Council already adopted a general approach in June. Delaying the process now is nothing but a desperate attempt to undermine the strong position adopted by the public health committee. It is scandalous that the centre-right in this house seems to be more concerned about the profits of the tobacco industry than public health.”
Green public health spokesperson Carl Schlyter added, “The EPP is engaging in a double-strike strategy: postponing the vote to buy time, while pushing amendments that seek to weaken the proposals at the behest of the tobacco lobby.
The EP’s public health committee voted for robust legislation, with a view to tackling the number one killer in the EU – smoking kills 700,000 Europeans every year – but the EPP group is seeking to dismantle core elements of the proposals.”
Prof. Arnold Cassola endorsed Schlyter’s position that “The Greens will work to ensure that the tobacco directive emerges unscathed from the European Parliament, so that it can deliver its aim of reducing the devastating public health impact of these products.”