Procedure : 2016/2555(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0313/2016

Texts tabled :

B8-0313/2016

Debates :

Votes :

PV 09/03/2016 - 11.8
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 265kWORD 67k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0313/2016
2.3.2016
PE579.741v01-00
 
B8-0313/2016

further to Questions for Oral Answer B8-0109/2016, B8-0110/2016, B8‑0111/2016, B8‑0112/2016, B8-0113/2016, B8‑0114/2016 and B8‑0115/2016

pursuant to Rule 128(5) of the Rules of Procedure


on the Commission’s ‘Technical assessment of the experience made with the Anti-Contraband and Anti-Counterfeit Agreement and General Release of 9 July 2004 among Philip Morris International and affiliates, the Union and its Member States’ and the forthcoming expiry of that agreement  (2016/2555(RSP))


Ryszard Czarnecki on behalf of the ECR Group

European Parliament resolution on the Commission’s ‘Technical assessment of the experience made with the Anti-Contraband and Anti-Counterfeit Agreement and General Release of 9 July 2004 among Philip Morris International and affiliates, the Union and its Member States’ and the forthcoming expiry of that agreement  (2016/2555(RSP))  
B8-0313/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Anti-Contraband and Anti-Counterfeit Agreement and General Release of 9 July 2004 between Philip Morris International (PMI) and affiliates, the Union and its Member States,

–  having regard to Directive 2014/40/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products and repealing Directive 2001/37/EC(1),

–  having regard to the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products adopted during the fifth session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control by Decision FCTC/COP5 (1) of 12 November 2012,

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 24 February 2016 entitled ‘Technical assessment of the experience made with the Anti-Contraband and Anti-Counterfeit Agreement and General Release of 9 July 2004 among Philip Morris International and affiliates, the Union and its Member States’(SWD (2016)0044),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 October 2007 on the implications of the agreement between the Community, Member States and Philip Morris on intensifying the fight against fraud and cigarette smuggling and progress made in implementing the recommendations of Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry into the Community Transit System(2),

–  having regard to the questions to the Commission on the Commission’s ‘Technical assessment of the experience made with the Anti-Contraband and Anti-Counterfeit Agreement and General Release of 9 July 2004 among Philip Morris International and affiliates, the Union and its Member States’ and the forthcoming expiry of the agreement (O-000010/2016 – B8-0109/2016, O-000014/2016 – B8-0110/2016, O‑000015/2016 – B8-0111/2016, O-000016/2016 – B8-0112/2016, O-000017/2016 –B8-0113/2016, O-000018/2016 –B8‑0114/2016 and O-000019 – B8-0115/2016),

–  having regard to Rules 128(5) and 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the illicit trade in tobacco products, in particular the smuggling of contraband and counterfeit cigarettes, causes revenue losses for the EU and its Member States (in terms of customs, VAT and excise duties) of more than EUR 10 billion a year;

B.  whereas the aim of the PMI agreement is to reduce the distribution of contraband branded PMI;

C.  whereas the PMI agreement has so far resulted in public revenue of around USD 1 billion in annual payments and EUR 68.2 million in seizure payments;

D.  whereas the PMI agreement is due to expire on 9 July 2016;

E.  whereas tobacco smuggling is a serious crime that contributes to the funding of other international organised criminal activities, including human, drugs and arms trafficking;

F.  whereas, while tobacco fraud is a public health concern, counterfeit cigarettes, manufactured illegally using unknown ingredients, pose an even greater health risk than genuine cigarettes;

G.  whereas tobacco fraud undermines anti-smoking policies, thereby fuelling the tobacco epidemic, as it increases access to (often cheaper) tobacco products, especially for young people and low-income groups;

H.  whereas the EU and the Member States (except Sweden in the case of the BAT and ITL agreements) have signed legally binding agreements to address the problem of contraband and counterfeit cigarettes with Philip Morris International (PMI) (2004), Japan Tobacco International (JTI) (2007), British American Tobacco (BAT) (2010) and Imperial Tobacco Limited (ITL) (2010);

I.  whereas, through these agreements, the companies have committed to paying a collective total of USD 2.15 billion to the EU and the signatory states in order to combat illegal trade in cigarettes;

1.  Notes the Commission’s report on the assessment of the PMI agreement;

2.  Deplores the fact that the Commission postponed the publication of its technical assessment for over six months despite Parliament’s explicit request to see it;

3.  Deplores the fact that the technical assessment was delivered by the Commission on 24 February 2016, thus making it difficult for Parliament to evaluate it properly and formulate an appropriate response;

4.  Takes note of the Commission’s assessment that the PMI agreement has effectively met its objective of reducing the prevalence of PMI contraband on the illicit EU tobacco market, as shown by a drop of around 85 % in the volume of genuine PMI cigarettes seized by Member States between 2006 and 2014; notes, nevertheless, that according to the Commission the reduction in PMI contraband did not lead to an overall reduction in illicit products on the EU market and that contraband consisting of smuggled products from the large manufacturers has been increasingly replaced by other products including non-branded cigarettes (‘cheap whites’) typically produced in third countries;

5.  Highlights the statement in the Commission’s report that legally binding and enforceable instruments, if coupled with robust law enforcement, are the most efficient tool for ensuring a significant reduction in illegal trade in tobacco products;

6.  Recalls that, as mentioned in the Commission’s report, the Tobacco Product Directive already provides for a legal requirement for tobacco companies to introduce and maintain a track-and-trace system, which will take effect in 2019 at the latest, and whereas the 2015 Protocol to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) provides for a similar global requirement, which is likely to take effect in 2022 or 2023;

7.  Notes that the implementing guidelines for Article 5.3 of the Protocol to the FCTC confirm that the Protocol does not prevent the conclusion of binding and enforceable agreements with tobacco manufacturers in the fight against the illicit tobacco trade;

8.  Calls on the Member States to implement the Tobacco Products Directive in a timely manner, and in particular its track-and-trace measures;

9.  Reiterates the continuous need to fight illicit trade and counterfeit products, and therefore points out that action is required, given the possible gap between the expiry of the PMI agreement currently in force and the entry into force of the Tobacco Products Directive and of the Protocol to the FCTC, to address the current situation in a transparent and accountable manner with the involvement of Parliament;

10.  Emphasises that the market has significantly changed since the agreement was concluded 12 years ago;

11.  Calls, while reserving its position on the benefit and utility of a renewed agreement until such time as it is able to consider a revised text, on the Commission to start renegotiating the existing PMI agreement, taking into consideration changed market circumstances and with experience of the existing agreement, with the aim of having something in place on 9 July 2016 if necessary;

12.  Emphasises that during any negotiations for a possible new agreement the Commission must work with relevant parties to ensure full transparency, particularly by keeping Parliament properly informed;

13.  Calls on the Commission to propose better ways of distributing payments from PMI in order to achieve a more equitable result and a fairer distribution of the revenue arising from any future agreement;

14.  Calls on the Commission to propose stronger mechanisms to improve the implementation of the agreement by the tobacco manufacturers, which should include more regular reporting of measures taken to ensure compliance;

15.  Emphasises that any new agreements should provide scope to work with the tobacco manufacturers in light of potential changes in the modus operandi of organised crime groups, such as, for example, addressing potential weaknesses in supply chain controls which could be exposed by possible seizures below notifiable limits;

16.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1)

OJ L 127, 29.4.2014, p. 1.

(2)

OJ C 227 E, 4.9.2008, p. 147.

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