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Maandag 18 mei 2015 - Straatsburg Herziene uitgave

18. Tabaksovereenkomsten (debat)
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  Pre ședinte. – Următorul punct de pe ordinea de zi este Declarația Comisiei referitoare la Acordurile privind tutunul (2015/2686 (RSP))

 
  
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  Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President of the Commission. Mr President, I would like to thank Parliament for the invitation to deliver a Commission statement on the tobacco agreements. These agreements have been introduced with the support of this House as an instrument in our fight against cigarette smuggling, with the first one signed in 2004.

Then, and now, Parliament has been our key ally in the fight against cigarette smuggling, a criminal act that siphons away money from our budgets. We know the data: around EUR 10 billion are lost every year as a result of smuggling, which impacts primarily on our Member States but also on the EU budget. Just to put this in perspective, our 28 Member States in 2013 had fiscal income from legal cigarette sales of over EUR 90 billion. That means that because of this criminal activity they have lost more than 10% of income that would have benefited their citizens, and that makes fighting cigarette smuggling financially very important.

We also recognise the negative impact on our public health policies. Legislative restrictions in the EU and national level prices are designed to deter smoking, and to protect citizens, especially youngsters. In contrast, illicit tobacco products are available, including to young people, at a substantial illegal discount. There is also a security dimension, since cigarette smuggling is one of the main sources of revenue for organised crime, and on 28 April we adopted a new European Agenda for Security, disrupting the access of organised crime to revenue from various smuggling activities, including the cigarette trade, which is part of this fight.

Parliament has strongly supported lifting this fight to a global level. Why? Because cigarette smuggling is a global phenomenon and therefore it requires a global solution. What we now have is the Protocol to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and I am very pleased to inform you that on 4 May the Commission adopted a decision proposing that the Council ratify it.

We do recognise, however, that ratification will take time. So far, out of the minimum requirement of 40 ratifications for the Protocol to enter into force we only have seven. In addition, even if we are to reach the 40 ratification requirement, we do not yet know whether the key sources and transit countries will actually sign up to the Protocol. I can assure you that we in the Commission take very seriously our role of encouraging exactly those countries to be amongst those ratifying in a timely manner.

We are also advancing a timely implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive. However, this Directive cannot play an effective role in controlling cigarette smuggling from outside the EU. It is in this context of the limitations, at this moment in time, on what we would like to pursue as the long-term solution that we are looking at other instruments at our disposal. One such instrument can also be the anti-fraud agreements with the major tobacco companies.

As I mentioned, the first was signed in 2004. It was with Philip Morris International (PMI). It will expire in July 2016. This agreement introduced innovative concepts like track and trace, due diligence – you need to know to whom you sell, you also have to make that information accessible – and anti-money laundering provisions. PMI agreed to pay USD 1.25 billion, of which slightly more than 90 % – 90.3 % – went to our Member States.

The agreement is legally binding and enforceable. Its contractual nature allows for elements to be included which would not have been easily available by legislative means, and in particular seizure payments without proof of fault. They offer an additional financial incentive to compliance. My predecessor, former Commissioner Šemeta, has already informed Parliament that we had brief exploratory meetings with PMI as required by the agreement, at which point PMI expressed interest in discussing a prolongation. We are also analysing the situation in light of evolving trends in illicit trade. We know that the cheap whites are our biggest threat now, not those that come from these big companies, and we are also looking at how the development in the regulatory landscape which I have already mentioned would impact our judgement on how to approach the future of this agreement.

We are going to finalise an assessment in a couple of weeks and, of course, we will make it available to Parliament and the public. There are some facts that are very clear: that the main objective of the PMI agreement – to reduce the presence of smuggled PMI products on the EU black market – has been achieved. Between 2006 and 2014 the volume of illegal PMI products seized by Member States under the agreement dropped by 85% and that substantially exceeds the overall downward trend in seizures. This drop applies equally to both genuine and counterfeit PMI products.

We are currently considering the next steps forward in this dossier, guided by our commitment to fight the illicit trade and serve the interests of our citizens. I want to state very clearly that we are very open on how we are going to end this, and in this sense my being here with you this evening is very important as an input that you will provide in our deliberations. I will keep you duly informed as we progress on this very important and very sensitive topic.

I would like to end by thanking the Greens for their initiative, including Mr Geier, who I know is very interested in this matter. Actually, I realise he is not a Green but would like to thank him for his interest, for which I am very grateful.

 
  
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  Petri Sarvamaa, on behalf of the PPE Group. Mr President, I would like to thank the Commissioner for doing what obviously at the moment seems possible for her to do. It is greatly appreciated that she has come to Parliament with a statement on the cooperation agreements between the Member States, the European Union and the major tobacco companies.

However, it is our view that the negotiations between the Commission and the tobacco companies should be much more open and transparent. As it stands now, we have been allowed to view the documents in a secure reading room for a couple of hours, and this took place after a rather frustrating correspondence with her predecessor. As a matter of fact, it would require a specialist lawyer to understand anything that is in those papers. We are now anxiously waiting for the Commission’s assessment of the benefits of the current tobacco agreements, or agreement with Philip Morris International, within the next couple of weeks, as was mentioned.

But I think we should go further. It is now essential for the way negotiations are conducted to be changed. This Parliament should, at the least, be informed of the discussions along the way, and not after everything has been said and done. Even better would be to invite us to the table as observers to monitor the reasoning of whether it would be good to prolong the agreements, for what reasons, and what we, as the Union, could achieve by prolonging these agreements. It is about taxpayers’ money, and at the moment there is a feeling among the public that they are being held as mere bystanders in what is potentially of huge importance financially and otherwise to them, as citizens of the Union. After all, how are taxpayers supposed to be represented if Parliament is not properly and entirely informed?

 
  
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  Inés Ayala Sender, en nombre del Grupo S&D. Señor Presidente, quiero agradecer a la señora Comisaria la larga reunión que mantuvo a puerta cerrada con los coordinadores y diputados de nuestra comisión, y también su presencia hoy para seguir este debate. Estamos en el ámbito de la lucha contra el comercio ilícito de tabaco, contra el contrabando y la falsificación, fenómeno que supone, como bien se ha planteado, pérdidas en los presupuestos nacionales y europeos de más de 10 000 millones por año. También financia, cuando no lo conseguimos controlar, actividades criminales de todo tipo y afecta, como no puede ser de otra manera, a la salud, sobre todo cuando es incontrolado. Cuando no controlamos sus componentes, asimismo, se abarata el producto en el mercado —porque es de contrabando y falsificado— y genera en el ámbito de esta crisis situaciones de descontrol y de riesgo para nuestros ciudadanos.

Los acuerdos han generado y aunado recursos y coordinación para luchar a escala global contra este contrabando; por lo tanto, en nuestro Grupo, para los nuevos acuerdos que puedan celebrarse —en el caso de que sea así, puesto que no está todavía decidido—, queremos, en todo caso, que se haga la luz sobre los resultados de lo ya realizado, con sus pros y sus contras, para ver si realmente pueden ser útiles o no para evitar males mayores y, en materia de control presupuestario, también para establecer el mayor control posible en cuanto a criterios y condiciones.

Como Parlamento, queremos que la lucha contra el contrabando, el comercio ilegal y la falsificación del tabaco se mantenga en el nivel más eficaz; en el nivel global, tiene que ser así. Pero como Grupo también queremos poder seguir paso a paso el diálogo de la Comisión con las tabacaleras, tal como exige el Acuerdo y, sobre todo, queremos que nuestra opinión descarte todos los riesgos crecientes y evite posiciones maximalistas que provocan males mayores.

No queremos ver de nuevo en el mercado, y menos en época de crisis, cigarrillos sin control de ningún tipo. Nos quedamos, pues, con el compromiso que usted acaba de ofrecernos: volver a vernos una vez que disponga usted de ese informe para poder formarnos primero nuestra opinión —se lo debemos a nuestros ciudadanos—, que debe tener como objetivo máximo preservar la salud, no solamente la salud física —también y sobre todo—, sino también la salud económica tanto de los Estados miembros como de la Unión Europea.

 
  
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  Martina Dlabajová, za skupinu ALDE. Pane předsedající, paní komisařko, dnešním tématem je odvětví, které je velmi citlivé, ba až kontroverzní, a taková jsou též s ním spojená regulační pravidla.

Na jedné straně zde, zvláště v posledním období, neexistuje obecná společenská poptávka po tom, aby toto odvětví rostlo, a proto přístup k němu je převážně restriktivní, spojený navíc se snahou pokrýt negativní externality spojené se zhoubným dopadem na zdraví obyvatelstva. Na straně druhé tomuto odvětví přisuzujeme jistou legitimitu a po splnění podmínek řízené restrikce i od něj očekáváme dodržování obvyklých tržních pravidel, především pak volnou soutěž. A nadto je toto odvětví nositelem nemalých zdrojů příjmů ve veřejných financích. Skloubit tyto tři úhly pohledu do jednoho regulačního rámce není jednoduché.

V současné době mají regulační pravidla určitou zavedenou podobu, která v zásadě odpovídá momentální společenské potřebě. Nejsou však bez chyby a jsou nutné určité parametrické změny, které by posílily jejich funkčnost. Lze zmínit hlavně tyto tři změny: za prvé, nastavení spravedlivého a transparentního způsobu rozdělování prostředků získaných na základě pokut vybraných od klíčových tabákových výrobců. Za druhé, posílení transparentnosti a sladěnosti dohod uzavřených mezi Komisí a čtyřmi hlavními výrobci s ohledem na jejich obsah i časovou platnost. Je legitimní si položit otázku, zda tyto čtyři dohody mají reálnou schopnost minimalizovat daný problém a proč mají různou lhůtu platnosti. O jejich základních bodech by také měla existovat informovanost. Takže od Vás, paní komisařko, požadujeme otevřenost.

Za třetí, nekalé projevy obchodování s cigaretami se týkají dalších jevů, které vůbec nejsou těmito dohodami postiženy a pro některé členské státy představují zásadní destrukci trhu, a sice přílivu cigaret obvykle nízké kvality, prodávaných mimo oficiální trhy a dovážených ze třetích zemí, především v periferních příhraničních regionech Evropské unie. Restrikce těchto transakcí je stejně tak potřebná, neboť jejich dopady jsou možná ještě zhoubnější než v předchozích případech.

(Řečník souhlasil s tím, že odpoví na otázku položenou zvednutím modré karty (čl. 162 odst. 8 jednacího řádu)).

 
  
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  Tibor Szanyi (S&D), blue-card question. Mr President, I listened quite carefully to the explanation by my colleague, but my question is rather of a general nature. When we are talking about this battle, as the Commissioner has pointed out already, it is about money, nothing else: money from the point of view of the governments; and money from the point of view of the criminals. Does she think that the current policies of the European Commission are adequate in order to prevent future crimes?

 
  
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  Martina Dlabajová (ALDE), odpověď na otázku položenou zvednutím modré karty. Pane kolego, jak jste správně zmínil, ta politika není v této chvíli adekvátní a já jsem zmínila, že jsou nutné parametrické změny. Zmínila jsem namátkou pouze tři, které já vidím jako důležité. Ale samozřejmě bychom o těch změnách mohli mluvit více, kdybychom měli více než dvě minuty času. Takže já jsem za to, aby byly změny určitě v další politice obsaženy.

 
  
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  Dennis de Jong, namens de GUE/NGL-Fractie. Dank aan de commissaris voor haar verklaring. Ik denk dat wij allemaal de mening delen dat sigarettensmokkel en namaaksigaretten aangepakt moeten worden. Het probleem is wel dat oorspronkelijk de samenwerking met de sigarettenfabrikanten voortkwam uit een juridische schikking. Wij zijn nu vele jaren verder en inmiddels is het duidelijk geworden dat de tabaksindustrie zijn lobby, ook tegen de tabaksrichtlijn, onverkort doorzet. Dat er zelfs een proces wordt begonnen tegen de Europese Commissie over de tabaksrichtlijn.

Het zijn niet echt vriendelijke jongens, zou ik zeggen. Het zijn ook geen jongens meer waar de internationale gemeenschap, met de Wereldgezondheidsorganisatie voorop, van vindt dat je ze moet behandelen als gewone andere lobbyisten of bedrijven. Wij hebben strenge regels: als ik in mijn kantoor een lobbyist van de tabaksindustrie ontvang, dan moet ik niet alleen vertellen dat ik dat contact gehad heb, maar ook precies waar het over ging, welk materiaal ik heb ontvangen. Eigenlijk vragen wij nu van de Commissie precies hetzelfde. U heeft contacten met de tabaksindustrie - buitengewoon gevoelig - en u bent verplicht om ons al het materiaal, en niet alleen ons parlementariërs, maar de bevolking, te geven dat de tabaksindustrie u geeft.

Ik wil graag de toezegging van de commissaris dat de Europese bevolking dat materiaal krijgt.

 
  
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  Bart Staes, namens de Verts/ALE-Fractie. De tabaksakkoorden met Philip Morris worden gezien als een belangrijk element in de strijd tegen tabaksmokkel. Maar ondanks dit akkoord en ook de akkoorden met heel wat andere tabaksgiganten, zoals Japan Tobacco, British American Tobacco en Imperial Tobacco Limited, zorgt die smokkel - zoals u zelf heeft gezegd - nog jaarlijks voor een tekort aan inkomsten, accijnzen en BTW van zowat 10 miljard euro. Die som gaat blijkbaar niet naar beneden, want die som van 10 miljard hoor ik al jaren. In het Parlement, en dat weet u, zijn er steeds meer kritische stemmen over dit akkoord te horen. De zaak Dalli is daar niet vreemd aan. De zaak van de voormalige topambtenaar Michel Petite, die consultant is geworden in een advocatenkantoor dat voor PMI werkt, is daar evenmin vreemd aan. De moeilijke discussie en het gelobby rond de totstandkoming van de tabaksrichtlijn is daar niet vreemd aan. En wij eisen dus in dit Parlement een algemene transparantie van alle documenten die over die tabaksakkoorden voorhanden zijn.

De heer Sarvamaa heeft al gezegd: de manier waarop wij dit nu moeten behandelen is absoluut onvoldoende. Wij stellen ons heel veel vragen bij die akkoorden. Want is het normaal dat wij onderhandelingen of gesprekken zouden opstarten met PMI, dat tegelijkertijd een bedrijf is dat een rechtszaak aanspant tegen de Europese Unie omwille van de tabaksrichtlijn? Dat lijkt mij heel vreemd. Is het bovendien conform artikel 5.3 van de kaderovereenkomst van de Wereldgezondheidsorganisatie dat wij zomaar gesprekken voeren met PMI? Dit zijn de vragen die wij stellen bovenop de vraag of deze akkoorden werkelijk nuttig zijn.

U heeft een evaluatie aangekondigd. Ik ben werkelijk benieuwd wat daarin zal staan. Een hoorzitting hier in het Europees Parlement heeft ervoor gezorgd dat [de Voorzitter ontneemt spreker het woord].

 
  
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  Marco Zanni, a nome del gruppo EFDD. Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, i cittadini europei non sanno che gli Stati membri hanno ricevuto negli ultimi 10 anni 2 miliardi di euro dalle società produttrici di tabacco per lottare contro il contrabbando di sigarette. Non sanno neanche che una grossa quota delle sigarette contrabbandate proviene direttamente dalle aziende produttrici di tabacco. E non sanno che nel 2000 la Commissione europea aveva messo in atto varie azioni legali contro la Philip Morris, che sono state abbandonate nel 2004 dopo che la Philip Morris si è accordata per elargire un miliardo di euro in 12 anni all'Europa. Ma, soprattutto, non sanno – e non lo sappiamo nemmeno noi in quest'Aula – come gli Stati membri abbiano effettivamente speso questi soldi.

Una cosa che invece sappiamo bene è che il fumo da tabacco rappresenta la seconda causa di morte nel mondo e la principale causa di morte evitabile. Il fumo causa ogni anno oltre 80 000 morti in Italia e 5,4 milioni di vittime nel mondo.

A essere maliziosi si potrebbe pensare che gli Stati membri e la Commissione accettino i soldi delle compagnie del tabacco per permettere loro di continuare a vendere fumo.

Dove e come sono stati spesi questi soldi?

 
  
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  Edouard Ferrand (NI). Monsieur le Président, chers collègues, concernant la contrebande, le trafic est une conséquence directe de la politique européenne. Ce trafic généralisé est rendu possible par Schengen, et notamment par la suppression des douanes intérieures. Schengen, c'est l'explosion du trafic du tabac. C'est donc vous qui êtes directement responsables de cette situation.

Certains veulent un Schengen, un Schengen I, un Schengen II, notamment en France, comme Nicolas Sarkozy. Aujourd'hui, pour ma part, si on veut arrêter directement le trafic, il faut une bonne fois pour toutes mettre fin à Schengen et il ne faut surtout pas de Schengen I ni de Schengen II.

(L'orateur accepte de répondre à une question "carton bleu"(article 162, paragraphe 8, du règlement))

 
  
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  Andreas Schwab (PPE), Frage nach dem Verfahren der „blauen Karte“. Herr Kollege Ferrand, ist Ihnen bekannt – nachdem Sie Ihre Ausführungen hier auf Schengen bezogen haben –, dass der Zigarettenschmuggel sich auf die Freizügigkeit von Gütern bezieht, Schengen aber auf die Freizügigkeit von Personen? Vielleicht haben Sie da etwas durcheinander gebracht.

 
  
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  Edouard Ferrand (NI), réponse "carton bleu". Cher collègue, il n'y a aucune confusion, je crois qu'aujourd'hui, tant qu'on ne remettra pas en place le principe d'une politique intérieure, de telle sorte que les États reprennent eux-mêmes leur sécurité et leur police, jamais on n'arrivera à mettre fin au trafic.

(L'orateur accepte de répondre à une question "carton bleu" (article 162, paragraphe 8, du règlement))

 
  
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  Jérôme Lavrilleux (PPE), question "carton bleu". Monsieur le Président, cher collègue, vous avez évoqué Schengen – et on vient de vous préciser que ce n'était pas exactement le domaine de compétence de Schengen –, mais il existe un pays, le Royaume-Uni, qui n'est pas dans Schengen. Croyez-vous qu'il n'y ait aucun trafic de cigarettes dans l'espace britannique, alors que ce pays n'est pas membre de Schengen? Ne trouvez-vous pas qu'il y a une incohérence dans vos propos?

 
  
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  Edouard Ferrand (NI), réponse "carton bleu". Monsieur le Président, Monsieur Lavrilleux, on ne va pas refaire l'Histoire. Si vous êtes favorable, justement, à une Europe qui supprime tous ses moyens légaux de contrôler à la fois le trafic de tabac mais aussi tous les autres trafics, notamment le problème qui se passe en Méditerranée...

Je pense qu'on n'a toujours pas compris que garantir la souveraineté des États, c'est mettre en place une nouvelle politique qui vise, justement, à renforcer les États.

 
  
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  Ingeborg Gräßle (PPE). Herr Präsident, Frau Vizepräsidentin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Die heutige Debatte ist ja eine Flucht nach vorne. Ich begrüße sehr, dass die Kommission sich endlich öffentlich äußert nach all der Geheimniskrämerei, die wir bei dem Thema seit fast zwei oder drei Jahren erfahren haben. Bis heute ist eine entscheidende Frage offen, nämlich: Welche Ergebnisse hat das bisherige Abkommen gebracht? Wie haben diese Abkommen den Schmuggel mit eigenen Produkten eingedämmt?

Ich möchte sagen, dass diese Abkommen keine Anti-Betrugs-Abkommen sind. Die Frage, was sie dann sind, ist eine wichtige Frage. Die Dokumente, die wir gesehen haben, die ich eingesehen habe, zeigen immer noch große Lücken in der Lieferkette für Tabakprodukte, und die Systeme sind weit davon entfernt, betrugssicher zu sein.

Ich konnte auch nicht erkennen, dass das OLAF tatsächlich Druck gemacht hat, um das zu ändern. Mich hat die Eselsgeduld verblüfft, mit der das Amt vorgegangen ist, ja fast das Desinteresse. Zumal das Amt ja an wichtigen Orten des Zigarettenschmuggels – und Sie haben zu Recht darauf hingewiesen, dass die cheap whites für uns das größere Problem sind –, nämlich in Kaliningrad oder in China, überhaupt nicht mehr präsent ist.

Zur Debatte mit dem Kollegen des Front National möchte ich wirklich sagen: Wenn Schengen damit etwas zu tun hätte oder auch die EU, dann hätten wir mit ganz vielen Orten der Welt eigentlich kein Problem.

Ich möchte insistieren auf der Veröffentlichung aller Dokumente, die nicht Geschäftsgeheimnisse bezüglich track and trace oder know your customer betreffen. Das sind extrem wichtige Geschichten, um die Tabakabkommen bewerten zu können. Was wir unbedingt veröffentlichen sollten, sind die reasonable expectations der Tabakkonzerne, das sind Briefe. Wir sollten die jährlichen additional seizure payments und natürlich alle statistischen Dokumente haben, weil ich auch hier keine Geschäftsgeheimnisse erkennen kann. Und natürlich sollten auch alle Kontakte des OLAF zur Tabakindustrie offengelegt werden.

Dank der Abkommen hat die Tabakindustrie einen Platz am Verhandlungstisch, und auch das sollte offen gesagt werden, dass nämlich diese Abkommen diese Industrie hoffähig machen, auch in der Zusammenarbeit mit den Mitgliedstaaten.

(Die Rednerin ist damit einverstanden, eine Frage nach dem Verfahren der „blauen Karte“ gemäß Artikel 162 Absatz 8 der Geschäftsordnung zu beantworten.)

 
  
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  Inés Ayala Sender (S&D), pregunta de tarjeta azul. Señor Presidente, yo quería entender mejor algunos de los razonamientos de la señora Gräßle, porque yo también he visto los documentos y es verdad que una cosa es lo que la OLAF encuentra, como vemos que está encontrando continuamente –desde luego en mi país, miles y millones de cajetillas–, y otra cosa son los documentos donde aparecen.

Por una vez, mi país ha ratificado el protocolo para eliminar el comercio ilegal de productos de tabaco, en el marco del Convenio Marco de la OMS para el Control del Tabaco. En cambio, su Gobierno no lo ha ratificado.

Querría preguntarle a la señora Gräßle: ¿Usted, por qué cree que su Gobierno no ha ratificado ese protocolo? ¿Porque no le interesa o porque hay otros temas? Lo digo para poder entender mejor cuáles son los designios que tenemos, las expectativas que tenemos en relación con estos acuerdos.

 
  
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  Ingeborg Gräßle (PPE), Antwort auf eine Frage nach dem Verfahren der „blauen Karte“. Frau Kollegin, dann fragen Sie doch einfach meine Regierung. Ich bin hier als Mitglied des Europaparlaments und nicht als Sprecherin der deutschen Bundesregierung.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D). Mr President, I certainly welcome the four agreements between the EU Member States and the four tobacco companies. These are used to tackle illicit trade in tobacco and cigarettes and, of course, they actually benefit the tobacco companies as well because, without these agreements, these tobacco companies would be losing revenue, so there is an incentive for them to sign these agreements.

But this is also important for the EU and our Member States so that we can reduce the amount lost in customs and excise duties, and there are also the funds which are provided by the tobacco companies, as part of the agreement, to the EU and to Member States. Therefore, I would hope that the existing agreements will continue and those which are due to expire will be renewed as soon as possible.

I would also say that we should not forget the health and security dimension of these agreements. It is important to restrict large amounts of cheap tobacco from coming onto the market for health reasons. It is also important to stop income from tobacco smuggling going to terrorist groups inside and outside of the European Union. So in view of that I would support us asking the Commissioner to produce an assessment of the effectiveness of the current arrangements, if not this month then hopefully at the June plenary session, and I am pleased that she did indicate in her contribution that that might be possible.

Finally, I would also hope that Member States sign the protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products and cigarettes. I think this is important. This will allow us to tackle the problem not just inside the European Union but also the illicit trade coming to the European Union from outside. So I would urge Member States to ratify that particular protocol as soon as possible.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 162(8))

 
  
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  Nathan Gill (EFDD), blue-card question. Mr Vaughan, my colleague from Wales, do you accept that Welsh consumers are being served best by plain-paper packaging and open borders that allow smugglers easy access throughout Europe? Granted, we do have a closed border in the UK because we are an island, but it is much easier for smugglers to get their products onto the borders of the UK. Do you think that Welsh consumers are being served best by these policies?

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), blue-card answer. Thank you for the question, my Welsh colleague. As other speakers have said, the UK is not part of the Schengen Agreement and I know, as you know, because we travel on a regular basis, that border control is quite strictly observed at UK airports and ferries. So it is much more difficult to smuggle anything into the UK. But what we are talking about here is an agreement with tobacco companies to make it even more difficult in the future for anybody – those inside the EU and those outside the EU – who want to bring these illicit goods into the European Union.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE). Monsieur le Président, avec douze ans de recul, il est une leçon à tirer de l'accord de coopération conclu en 2004 entre la Commission et Philip Morris, le compromis avec les géants du tabac n'est sans doute pas possible. Alors, au crédit de cet accord, la Commission avance une baisse du commerce illégal de cigarettes – on l'a entendu – mais les experts de la santé, que je lis et que j'écoute, disent exactement le contraire et précisent qu'en 2012, les quatre grands du tabac ont versé environ 4 millions d'euros, soit une pacotille, 0,5 % seulement du total estimé des ventes de cigarettes de contrebande.

Sur le principe même de cet accord, la Commission nous dit que, juridiquement, tout serait en ordre. Je vous répondrai que, sur les plans éthique et politique, tout ne l'est pas pour nous. Cet accord est en contradiction, notamment, avec l'article 5, paragraphe 3, de la convention-cadre pour la lutte anti-tabac qui impose une transparence absolue – on l'a dit – concernant les liens directs entre décideurs politiques et industrie du tabac, une ligne directrice que nous avons appliquée scrupuleusement et à la lettre, la rapporteure, Mme McAvan, et moi-même, en tant que rapporteure sur la directive produit du tabac.

Je conclus, Monsieur le Président, et j'en fais la demande à madame la vice-présidente: il est encore temps de faire la même chose, à savoir, de renoncer à renouveler cet accord et d'investir dans tous les outils, considérablement plus efficaces, qu'elle a évoqués tout à l'heure.

 
  
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  José Bové (Verts/ALE). Monsieur le Président, Madame la Commissaire, je reprends simplement le principe n° 1 du protocole de l'Organisation mondiale de la santé selon lequel il existe un conflit irréconciliable et fondamental entre les intérêts des industries du tabac et ceux des politiques de santé publique.

L'article 17, point c), de cette convention, dit clairement que les parties prenantes – donc l'Union européenne – doivent rejeter tous les partenariats et tous les accords avec les industriels du tabac. Je crois que les choses sont juridiquement claires: si nous continuons à négocier, nous sommes en contradiction avec le droit européen ainsi qu'avec le droit international que nous avons signé en 2004 et qui est entré en application en 2005. Nous avons donc une raison juridique pour arrêter.

Il ne faut pas confondre fraude et contrefaçon. La fraude est organisée par l'industrie du tabac, elle lui permet de gagner de l'argent. La contrefaçon, par contre, lui fait perdre de l'argent. C'est pour cette raison que l'industrie du tabac se tourne vers les États et vers l'Union européenne: pour gagner de l'argent. Aujourd'hui, on ne doit pas soutenir les fraudeurs, c'est-à-dire qu'on ne doit pas soutenir l'industrie du tabac, qui est une véritable mafia.

Aujourd'hui, je vous demande donc très clairement d'arrêter toute négociation avec l'industrie du tabac. C'est contre l'intérêt de la santé publique et contre l'intérêt du droit international.

(L'orateur accepte de répondre à une question "carton bleu" (article 162, paragraphe 8, du règlement))

 
  
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  Doru-Claudian Frunzulică (S&D), question "carton bleu". Monsieur le Président, il semble que Mme Ries ne veut pas répondre aux questions parce qu'elle n'a pas une position très claire, alors je pose une question à M. Bové.

Oui, vous avez raison, nous avons besoin de transparence et de documentation mais, dans le même temps, ne croyez-vous pas que les polices nationales, les départements de police, les ministères de l'intérieur et la police douanière doivent faire leur travail? J'ai lu beaucoup d'articles et il semble que les polices nationales sont tolérantes à l'égard de ce trafic de cigarettes. Elles doivent d'abord faire leur travail.

 
  
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  José Bové (Verts/ALE), réponse "carton bleu". Je suis tout à fait d'accord avec vous, il faut faire le travail. Mais, que dire aujourd'hui de l'argent que la Commission, que l'OLAF récupèrent, et qui est renvoyé dans les États? Ce sont les industriels du tabac qui procèdent aux contrôles dans les États pour vérifier la contrefaçon, c'est-à-dire que ce sont les gangsters, les trafiquants de tabac qui organisent eux-mêmes la lutte contre les contrefaçons sur leur propre trafic. C'est tout de même scandaleux! Est-ce le rôle de l'OLAF de faire ce travail? Non, ce n'est pas son rôle! D'ailleurs, on le voit bien aujourd'hui avec le juge qui doit, au niveau de la Belgique, vérifier où en est l'affaire Dalli. L'ensemble des collaborateurs de l'OLAF ont été convoqués pour vérifier les écoutes illégales. Aujourd'hui, l'OLAF est disqualifié.

 
  
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  David Coburn (EFDD). Mr President, of course we all want to stop counterfeiting and the trade in illicit cigarettes but, while we have a complete open door policy across the whole of Europe, how on earth are we meant to check for quality and control for contraband? These agreements are nothing more than the EU putting a gun to the head of international tobacco companies to hand over billions of euros to the EU.

No wonder there is such an enormous trade in illegal goods. How does the EU propose to try to tackle the problem of counterfeit goods? It calls for plain packaging of cigarettes, which will be a counterfeiter’s dream! If the EU and the Tories have their way, standard plain packaging will make counterfeiting much easier by taking away all the complicated wrapping and markings that the tobacco companies put on their products to make sure they are of quality. There will be a flood of counterfeit goods coming into the EU. How on earth are we going to protect consumers? They want to smoke cigarettes. They do not want to smoke goodness knows what. They only want to smoke cigarettes.

The EU negotiating important international agreements on taking large sums of cash to squander is completely undemocratic. This should be the province of the nation state and nothing to do with the EU. Through these agreements, the tobacco companies have committed to paying the EU collectively USD 2.15 billion. This is an EU protection racket worthy of the late Al Capone and another example of the dark and perverted science of the EU.

 
  
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  Claudia Schmidt (PPE). Herr Präsident, Frau Kommissarin! Die Tabakabkommen, so wie sie jetzt bestehen, sind ja angeblich eine gute Sache. Wie gut, wissen wir allerdings nicht, denn die Kommission kann oder will uns die Resultate ihrer Assessments nicht mitteilen, falls sie überhaupt schon abgeschlossen sind. Was wir jedoch alle wissen, ist, dass das Abkommen mit Philip Morris 2016 auslaufen wird.

Deswegen stelle ich meine Fragen: Wo sieht die Kommission den Mehrwert der jährlichen Zahlungen, wenn die Mittel nicht zweckgebunden an die Mitgliedstaaten ausgezahlt werden? Haben bereits erste Gespräche mit Philip Morris stattgefunden, um über eine mögliche Verlängerung der Abkommen zu beraten? Wenn nicht, wann wird dies geschehen? Warum wird nun Zeit mit einer Eurobarometer-Umfrage zu den Tabakabkommen regelrecht verschwendet, und wo liegt hier der Mehrwert?

Es wird Zeit, dass endlich Antworten geliefert werden, denn die Fragen häufen sich, und die Zeit läuft uns davon.

 
  
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  Jens Geier (S&D). Herr Präsident, verehrte Frau Vizepräsidentin Georgieva, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Also ich bin fröhlicher deutscher Sozialdemokrat, kein Grüner. Wenn ich meinen Beitrag beendet habe, werden Sie auch den Unterschied zwischen mir und dem Kollegen Bové erkennen. Dann wird das, glaube ich, auch ein bisschen deutlicher.

Ich will auf einen Punkt hinweisen, der in der Debatte noch keine Rolle gespielt hat, der die Bekämpfung von Zigarettenschmuggel ganz besonders wichtig macht. Dahinter stehen Strukturen von organisierter Kriminalität. Das Zeug muss eingeführt werden, es muss verteilt werden. Das bar eingenommene Geld muss gewaschen werden, das Geld muss also wieder in den Geldkreislauf. Der Zigarettenschmuggel, so wie er im Moment in Europa stattfindet, kann nur auf der Basis von organisierter Kriminalität stattfinden. Und das ist eine die Demokratie unterminierende Situation, die wir nicht ernst genug nehmen können.

Es ist richtig: Tatsächlich gehen die großen Gefahren nicht mehr von den einschlägigen Zigarettenmarken aus, sondern mittlerweile sind die sogenannten cheap whites auf dem Vormarsch. So ist in Berlin eine Marke, die in Deutschland legal überhaupt nicht erhältlich ist, mittlerweile mit 25 % am Konsum beteiligt. Dies zeigt auch, welche Ausmaße das angenommen hat.

Die Abkommen sind also sicherlich nicht das Mittel, um den Schmuggel einzuschränken, dafür werden wir mehr tun müssen. Da geht es auch darum, dass die EU sich dafür einsetzt, dass auch Beauftragte der EU vom OLAF in wichtigen Hauptstädten von Erzeugerländern der Zigaretten sitzen und dort mit den Behörden in Kontakt treten. Ich halte das für ganz besonders wichtig, und da ist es eigentlich nicht hinnehmbar, dass das OLAF nur noch in Kiew vertreten ist. Das muss klar ausgebaut werden.

Aber die Tabakabkommen sind sicherlich ein Mittel, um noch etwas zu tun. Ich bin nicht der Meinung – wie das Kollegen von der Grünen und der Christdemokratischen Fraktion gefordert haben –, dass wir die Verhandlungen einstellen sollten, ganz und gar nicht. Was sollten wir denn außer reden sonst tun? Wir können ja sicherlich mit Appellen da nicht besonders weiter kommen, deswegen bin ich klar der Meinung: Lass sie uns da treffen, wo es weh tut, nämlich beim Geld.

(Der Redner ist damit einverstanden, eine Frage nach dem Verfahren der „blauen Karte“ gemäß Artikel 162 Absatz 8 der Geschftsordnung zu beantworten.)

 
  
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  José Bové (Verts/ALE), question "carton bleu". Je suis intervenu sur la question de la différence entre la fraude et la contrefaçon; l'Organisation mondiale de la santé reconnaît que la fraude est organisée, par exemple, par Philip Morris lui-même. C'est très clair, les réseaux qui arrivent en Europe passent directement par la Russie, notamment, et maintenant par d'autres canaux. C'est un fait reconnu. Ils organisent eux-mêmes la fraude.

Par contre, aujourd'hui, c'est la contrefaçon qui leur cause du tort parce qu'elle leur fait perdre de l'argent. C'est là que le scandale réside aujourd'hui. Comprenez-vous la différence entre les deux alors qu'effectivement, l'OMS reconnaît clairement la responsabilité de Philip Morris dans l'organisation de sa propre fraude?

 
  
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  Jens Geier (S&D), Antwort auf eine Frage nach dem Verfahren der „blauen Karte“. Der Unterschied ist mir natürlich klar. Sie müssen nur dann, lieber Kollege Bové, auch mal zur Kenntnis nehmen, dass mittlerweile der Anteil von Philip-Morris-Zigaretten bei Zigaretten, die beschlagnahmt worden sind, um 85 % zurückgegangen ist. Die Aussage, die Sie über die Situation, über die Einschätzung der Weltgesundheitsorganisation getroffen haben, ist dann möglicherweise nicht mehr auf dem aktuellen Stand, weil der Vorwurf, dass die Tabakindustrie selbst die Schmuggler unterstützt, wenigstens dann für diese Firma so tatsächlich nicht mehr zuzutreffen scheint. Ich glaube, dass das ein sehr direktes Ergebnis der Abkommen ist, und deswegen unterstütze ich sie.

 
  
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  Miroslav Poche (S&D). Pane předsedající, paní komisařko, já si myslím, že kouření je bezesporu jedno z nejvážnějších rizik pro zdraví Evropanů. Každý krok, který můžeme učinit pro to, abychom omezili toto nebezpečí, je proto vítán.

Platí to i pro boj s nezákonným obchodem s cigaretami a tabákem. V jeho důsledku nejenom přicházíme ročně o miliardy EUR na clech a daních, ale otevíráme prostor pro další negativní sociální jevy. V některých členských státech levné nelegální cigarety vedou k větší závislosti mládeže na tabáku. A právě mladé lidi bychom měli chránit nejvíc.

Je zřejmé, že zisky z nelegálního obchodu s cigaretami také pomáhají financování činností skupin podílejících se na organizovaném zločinu. Asi nikdo proto nepochybuje, že je nutné nalézt nejlepší cestu, jak tomuto vážnému problému věnovat patřičnou pozornost. Proto také Evropský parlament přivítal uzavření současných dohod v roce 2004. Obávám se, že již tak pozitivní ale nemůžeme být k nynějšímu laxnímu přístupu a postupu Evropské komise. V této chvíli nejsou bohužel dostupné relevantní informace, které jsou podle mého názoru velmi důležité pro budoucnost těchto dohod, a ty musí Evropský parlament velmi razantně vyžadovat. Především dosud nevíme, jestli dohody naplnily očekávání, která jsme do nich před těmi lety vkládali.

Přestože nová jednání s tabákovými společnostmi začala před rokem, Komise nám do této chvíle nebyla schopna poskytnout žádné informace, jak bude situace vypadat od poloviny příštího roku, kdy vyprší stávající smlouvy. Vlastně ani nevíme, jestli je vzájemná spolupráce s tabákovými společnostmi tou správnou cestou. Podle mého názoru tento přístup Evropské komise není způsobem, jak přesvědčit poslance a veřejnost o tom, že je nejlepší cestou k boji s nelegálním obchodem.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D). Mr President, in 2007 during the plenary debates the European Parliament praised the agreements signed between the Commission and Philip Morris, and generally the agreements with other tobacco producers were regarded as a success story. A lot has been achieved in combating illicit cigarette trade and smuggling, especially when we look back to the 1990s. However, the EU continues losing around EUR 10 billion annually, and the greatest influx of smuggled cigarettes comes through external EU borders, including in the Baltic region. Thus cigarette smuggling remains a very acute problem and further improvements are vitally required in this area. But in order to take a position on whether we should continue with such agreements with tobacco companies after 2016, we must have relevant information on what was achieved and what the shortcomings were under the current agreements.

 
  
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  Karl-Heinz Florenz (PPE). Herr Präsident, Frau Kommissarin! Ich bin ein bisschen erstaunt darüber, dass Sie die Tabakschmuggler Schmuggler nennen. Verzeihen Sie bitte, für mich sind das Gesundheits- und Steuerverbrecher. Sie werden es noch verstehen. Ich habe jetzt 20 Jahre mit den Damen und Herren zu tun, wir haben gerade die Tabakproduktrichtlinie beschlossen, und jetzt sind wir schon dabei, die Rückverfolgbarkeitskriterien aufzubohren und den Firmen wieder Möglichkeiten für individuelle Verträge zu geben. Das ist genau falsch. Wir müssen jetzt endlich mal das tun, was wir vor anderthalb Jahren beschlossen haben, nämlich Rückverfolgbarkeitsstrategien zu entwickeln.

Darf ich Ihnen dazu eines sagen? Die Tabakindustrie – gerade die, die Sie aus London erwähnt haben – hat ein großes Interesse daran, an diesem Rückverfolgbarkeitssystem mit teilzuhaben, und sie ist sehr daran interessiert, möglichst viel Schmuggelware zu deklarieren und möglichst wenig Fälschungen. Denn die Fälschungen müssen sie selbst bezahlen und die Schmuggelware nicht. So war das System bis jetzt. Das muss aufgearbeitet werden. Das können wir doch unseren Kindern nicht mehr erklären, dass so ein System des Freikaufens in diesem Jahrhundert noch möglich ist!

Also geben Sie nicht so viel Gas, was das Fortbestehen dieses Vertrages angeht, sondern geben Sie Gas, um aufzuklären. Meine geschätzte Kollegin Gräßle hat die Einzelheiten erwähnt, und ich will sie nicht wiederholen, weil sie so gut sind.

 
  
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  Julie Girling (ECR). Mr President, these tobacco agreements are not perfect. They have been criticised across the House today, not least for the toothless provisions such as seizure-based payments and for initiating close collaboration between the industry and the EU – illustrated by the very difficult adoption of the Tobacco Products Directive and by the delaying tactics that we have seen sometimes at the very highest levels in the EU. That said, the agreements have contributed to addressing the issue of counterfeit cigarettes and the parallel market as part of the EU’s wider strategy to step up the fight against the illicit tobacco trade.

In the absence of plans for anything else, I believe that we should cautiously welcome their renewal, but I note that much more needs to be done. The best way of combating this sort of fraud is to stop demand in the first place. We should stop, as far as we can, people taking up this disgusting habit. So I would urge the Commission to make sure that implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive moves ahead swiftly and that swift transposition is encouraged.

 
  
 

Intervenții la cerere

 
  
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  Marijana Petir (PPE). Gospodine predsjedniče, cigarete i pušenje predstavljaju direktnu opasnost za ljudsko zdravlje, stoga moramo biti zainteresirani za strogu kontrolu tog sektora. A ako tome dodamo i krijumčarenje cigareta sumnjive kakvoće koje uzrokuju značajne gubitke prihoda za Europsku uniju i države članice, od carina i poreza svake godine, onda je to argument za dodatnu kontrolu.

Riječ je o zdravlju naših građana koje je ugroženo kao i novcu naših poreznih obveznika koje se gubi, stoga mi kao njihovi predstavnici trebamo imati više informacija o komunikaciji koja se odvija između Komisije i duhanske industrije. Krijumčarenje proizvoda na koje se naplaćuju visoki porezi poput cigareta i alkohola kazneno je djelo koje se vrlo često događa na istočnim granicama Europske unije, a može se dovesti u vezi sa sve većim siromaštvom tamošnjeg stanovništva. Potrebno je stoga, po mojem mišljenju, prethodno pokrenuti gospodarske aktivnosti koje će omogućiti legalne prihode stanovništvu, a s druge strane provoditi ciljane carinske operacije i pozornost usmjeriti na borbu protiv kriminala i korupcije.

 
  
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  Момчил Неков (S&D). Уважаеми г-н Председател, уважаема г-жо Георгиева, всяка година над 10 млрд. евро са загубите на Европейския съюз от нелегален внос на цигари. Трябва да се търсят силни защитни механизми срещу този нелегален внос, защото той включва нелицензирани продукти. По тази причина, такива продукти представляват и потенциална опасност за здравето на гражданите.

Нелегалният внос също така носи и социален риск. Той предпоставя нерегламентирани трудови отношения и поставя работниците в този сив сектор в още по-голям риск.

Близо десетте милиона цигари, които дневно биват вкарвани в моята страна България и за които не се плащат данъци, нанасят непропорционално висока икономическа вреда. Според изчисления на различни организации моята страна търпи загуби за най-малко 450 млн. лв. годишно от акциз и ДДС – сума, която надхвърля общите разходи за месечни помощи за деца и са десетократно повече от общите разходи за превоз на ученици и за безплатни учебници.

В името на каузата да бъде спряна тази практика смятам, че чрез подновяване на споразуменията с големите тютюнопроизводители ще се създадат по-здрави механизми за повече социално отговорен контрол и прозрачност.

 
  
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  Ангел Джамбазки (ECR). Уважаеми г-н Председател, уважаема комисар Георгиева, много критики отнесоха тютюневите споразумения днес в тази зала, очевидно те не са перфектни, но също така са необходими, за да бъдат защитени интересите на производителите, както трябва и да се увеличи контролът върху прилагането на тези споразумения.

Известно е, че България е традиционен производител на тютюн и тютюневи изделия. Само в производство на тютюн са заети около 5,5 % от работещите в селското стопанство, а на тютюна се падат 13,8 % от износа на земеделска продукция.

Изчисленията показват, че тютюнът осигурява работа и доходи на около 35 000 стопанства. Отрасълът е изключително важен за редица региони в България и се явява единствен поминък в някои общини.

Ето защо всякакви рестриктивни мерки срещу производителите и сектора биха имали сериозни негативни резултати. Същевременно контрабандата и фалшивите производители нанасят сериозни финансови загуби на българските производители.

Затова подкрепям идеята Комисията да помисли за затягане на контрола върху спазването на тези споразумения и да се постарае да прекрати контрабандата.

 
  
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  Ivan Jakovčić (ALDE). Gospođo povjerenice, gospodine predsjedniče, ako će ovaj sporazum razriješiti pitanje krijumčarenja i prijevara, onda je on dobrodošao. Ako će ovaj sporazum razriješiti pitanja gubitka 10 milijardi eura u proračunima, onda je on dobrodošao.

Međutim, ovdje kao što vidite, ima niz sumnji da će se to tako lako razriješiti. Zbog svih aktera koji su u ovoj priči iznimno zainteresirani. Htio bih iskoristiti ovu priliku i zamoliti vas da obratite pažnju ne samo na velike proizvođače duhana, nego da i na neki način zaštitite i manje proizvođače duhana i cigareta (ako se to tako može reći) zato jer je taj posao vrlo važan posao i za zemlju iz koje je dolazim. Hrvatska ima značajnu proizvodnju duhana i cigareta. U tom kontekstu mislim da je važno da i oni budu uključeni.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL). Senhor Presidente, Senhora Comissária, há indiscutivelmente aspetos por esclarecer relativamente a estes acordos celebrados entre a Comissão Europeia e a indústria tabaqueira, como há aspetos a esclarecer também relativamente à própria matéria de fundo destes acordos, a contrafação e o contrabando do tabaco. Porque não são laboratórios independentes mas a própria indústria a determinar se há ou não contrafação, por exemplo.

As dinâmicas deste negócio ilícito e as suas interpenetrações com a parte lícita do negócio merecem, sem dúvida, aprofundamento e esclarecimento adicionais. Acompanhamos o questionamento que aqui foi feito sobre os montantes e o destino das verbas recebidas pelos Estados-Membros ao abrigo deste acordo. Uma coisa é certa, é muito o que há por fazer no domínio do combate ao tabagismo. Em Portugal, por exemplo, em quatro anos, o número de locais com consultas para cessação tabágica caiu para praticamente metade. Um exemplo elucidativo sobre quem ganha e quem perde com o atual estado de coisas.

 
  
 

Încheierea intervențiilor la cerere

 
  
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  Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President of the Commission. Mr President, I would like to thank everyone for participating in a debate that clearly showed the complexity of the topic we are discussing today. I would like to apologise once again for mixing up people and parties. It was not intentional, and so I would also like to thank Mr Staes and Mr Geier for their contributions.

Let me make five points today. This will be one step in an ongoing debate with the Parliament on this topic. My first point is that this House has my personal commitment on an engagement that allows us, together, to define what the role of this particular instrument is. As many have said, we need a broader approach that is not exhausted by this specific instrument, but we also have to decide on its role in the future.

My second point is that in the differences in opinion, there was one issue on which almost everybody was of the same opinion – namely the necessity for more transparency so that, as we move forward, it is done in the form of an open discussion. Of course, to the extent that we can pursue transparency in that matter, we will do so. In other words, we are going to come to Parliament with ways in which Members’ participation in the deliberations can be active.

My third point is that there are no ongoing negotiations. None. There have been, as per the agreement, exploratory talks. These are required by the agreement with Philip Morris International. Two years before exploration, we need to look into the potential for prolongation. These talks have addressed one issue, namely whether there would be interest on the side of Philip Morris. They seem to be interested and we have also indicated on both sides that, before we move towards any step for or against negotiations, we need to complete our own assessments.

Our assessment is ongoing. Once it is finalised, we will share it with Parliament. On that basis, we will make a decision on whether or not – of course, in consultation with the Council and Parliament – to go for a prolongation. Some of those here have spoken clearly in favour – some clearly, some cautiously, but saying that it is an instrument which still seems to be necessary – and there have been those speaking clearly against it. We obviously have to look at the costs and benefits before we come to any decision. That is something that we would do in an open and transparent manner. There will be no negotiations of which you are not aware, if at all, because that is – I repeat – an open question.

My fourth point is on a question that was posed to me, and I want to address it directly: does one have the right even to consider negotiations, given that the Protocol in relation to Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) calls on the parties to protect their public health policies from commercial or vested interests, and it actually says that you should not talk to these people or engage with them? This is the point that was made.

I want to stress that the WHO Secretariat to the FCTC has issued guidelines on how they would wish to see that article implemented by the parties. These guidelines contain an explicit exemption for binding and enforceable agreements, such as these tobacco agreements. That is not to say that we should rush into a decision lightly, but rather that there is a clarifying document – the guidelines – that go with the Protocol.

My fifth and last point is just a point of clarification on an independent laboratory. We agree that this is necessary. A number of Members pointed out the fact that, if the companies themselves are those who have the means to do all the assessments, then we are a bit blind. I confirm that we have taken a decision and we are pursuing having an independent laboratory that we can use.

With the assessment forthcoming, I just want to stress that there has been quite an impressive impact on reducing illicit trade. Just to give you a sense, we have had here a debate that has spread over about an hour and a half. In each minute of that hour and a half, 22 packs of illicit cigarettes have been seized. The volume is in the billions. These are cigarettes that are not put on our markets at a price below the regulatory one, are accessible to our young people, and are not in line with our health policies. This is taking money away from our treasuries.

So there is clearly a benefit, but we also have to be mindful that we have an evolving regulatory context. I want to stress this. We now have the directive and we have the Protocol. We have to make every effort possible. I could not agree more with the speakers who have said that we should implement the directive and accelerate the ratification of the Protocol. That remains our bigger objective. The question we have to answer is whether there is a need, in the foreseeable future, for other instruments to complement these two big funding elements of what we want to use to fight smoking for health reasons and illegal trade for health, fiscal and security reasons. We will answer this question with the House, and with the help of its Members, for which I am very grateful.

 
  
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  Pre ședinte. – Dezbaterea a fost închisă.

Declaraţii scrise (articolul 162)

 
  
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  Nessa Childers (S&D), in writing. The Commission is making a serious mistake by entertaining contacts with the tobacco industry to renew EU agreements. The initial agreements were born from a settlement to a case where the Commission accused three tobacco manufacturing giants of being part of a global scheme to smuggle cigarettes, launder the profits of narcotics, fix prices, bribe officials and conduct illegal trade with terrorist groups. Yet these companies have been put in charge of monitoring counterfeiting in tobacco smuggling seizures, paying the authorities whenever these are found to be genuine so, unsurprisingly, they have found only 0.5% of seized shipments in 2012 to be genuine. This is a mockery of enforcement and, what is worse, never has a sample been analysed by an independent laboratory, and we know very little of the specifics behind this scheme. The Commission was asked by the EP to conduct a proper assessment of this scheme back in 2012, and this is long overdue. What is more outrageous is that, while these talks are going on, these very same big tobacco companies are challenging the Tobacco Products Directive in the ECJ. Instead, we should be working on how to ratify and implement the WHO Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, which the Commission rightly wants the Council to do.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), písomne. Aj keď sa Európska únia snaží o reguláciu tabakového priemyslu od začiatku 90. rokov, je nutné skonštatovať, že fajčiarov v Európe ubúda iba veľmi pomaly. Ide zhruba o 1 až 2 % ročne. Vítam preto návrh novej smernice zo strany Európskej komisie, pretože som presvedčená o tom, že sa musíme snažiť o obmedzenie fajčenia hlavne u mladých ľudí a naplniť cieľ znížiť počet mladých fajčiarov o polovicu do roku 2025. Prevažná väčšina fajčiarov začína fajčiť vo veľmi mladom veku — 70 % pred dovŕšením 18. roka života a 94 % vo veku mladšom ako 25 rokov, ukázal prieskum Eurobarometer. Je skutočne alarmujúce, že používanie tabaku vedie v Európskej únií ročne približne k 700 000 úmrtiam, ktorým by sa dalo predísť. Na druhej strane sú tu však ekonomické aspekty obmedzovania tabakového priemyslu pre členské štáty Európskej únie v podobe zníženia príjmov do štátneho rozpočtu z dane z predaja tabakových výrobkov a strata okolo 150 tisíc pracovných miest v Európskej únií a výrazný nárast nelegálneho obchodu s tabakovými výrobkami. Ja však vidím aj pozitívne vplyvy, ktoré by mali priniesť napríklad aj úspory nezanedbateľnej sumy v oblasti zdravotnej starostlivosti.

 
  
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  Doru-Claudian Frunzulică (S&D), in writing. Considering the fact that we do not have yet any other political mean to fight illicit trade in contraband and counterfeit cigarettes, I believe that the European Parliament should wait for the assessment on the true effectiveness of the agreements that the Commission has promised to publish in the next weeks, and then decide whether to start the negotiations for renewal in a transparent way for an adjustment of the agreements, or to nullify the agreements with the main tobacco companies.

 
  
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  Ricardo Serrão Santos (S&D), por escrito. A produção de tabaco na Europa desempenha uma função ambiental e social no âmbito de uma atividade agrícola que continua a ser relevante em algumas regiões. Apesar da produção europeia representar anualmente apenas 3% do total mundial, ela não é por isso menos importante para as populações rurais que se dedicam a esta atividade e dela dependem, como por exemplo nos Açores.

A questão da contrafação tem associados problemas vários, desde crime organizado, questões financeiras e, sobretudo, questões de saúde. É, por isso, fundamental fazer todos os esforços para que esta prática seja contida. Os produtos de tabaco contrafeitos estão livres de qualquer controlo de qualidade e higiene e ignora-se qual o seu conteúdo e ingredientes. O risco de tais produtos para a saúde pode ser fatal e tal risco é incomportável numa sociedade com os meios de que, felizmente, dispomos. Felicito a Comissão Europeia pela adesão ao Protocolo da Organização Mundial da Saúde sobre a eliminação do comércio ilícito de produtos de tabaco e apelo a que não sejam poupados meios para contribuir para este objetivo.

 
  
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  Igor Šoltes (Verts/ALE), pisno. Pri nezakoniti trgovini s tobačnimi izdelki gre predvsem za tihotapljenje originalnih cigaret, proizvodnjo in prodajo ponarejenih cigaret ter proizvodnjo, ki presega povpraševanje na določenem trgu. Nezakoniti tobačni izdelki so lahko precej bolj škodljivi od zakonitih, saj so izdelani v nepreverjenih obratih in uvoženi v EU, sestavine pa lahko vsebujejo več nikotina, katrana in ogljikovega monoksida, ponekod celo delčke embalaže in plastike. Poleg tega se prek tihotapljenja tobačnih izdelkov financirajo tudi druge oblike nezakonite trgovine z ljudmi, drogami in orožjem, zmanjšuje pa se tudi učinek ukrepov za zmanjšanje uporabe tobačnih izdelkov, kot so davki na tobak, zdravstvena opozorila in zakonodaja, ki mladim osebam omejuje dostop do tobaka.

Zaradi nezakonite trgovine s tobačnimi izdelki EU in države članice letno izgubijo več kot 10 milijard EUR, ki bi jih sicer prejele v obliki carin, DDV in trošarin. Za boj proti nezakoniti trgovini s tobačnimi izdelki so zato podpisale sporazume o tobaku s štirimi proizvajalci tobačnih izdelkov. Zdaj se postavlja vprašanje, ali naj se obstoječi sporazumi obnovijo oziroma sklenejo novi. Da bi lahko odgovorili na to vprašanje, bi morali biti seznanjeni z oceno uspešnosti implementacije obstoječih sporazumov, ki jo na poziv Parlamenta pripravlja Komisija, in oceno dodane vrednosti sporazumov o tobaku.

 
  
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  Marco Valli (EFDD), per iscritto. Gli Stati membri hanno ricevuto negli ultimi dieci anni 2 miliardi di euro dalle società produttrici di tabacco per lottare contro il contrabbando di sigarette. Questo enorme contributo deriva dagli accordi stipulati a seguito di un'azione legale intrapresa dalla Commissione europea contro la Philip Morris, abbandonata nel 2004 dopo che la Philip Morris si è accordata per elargire 1 miliardo di euro in 12 anni all'Europa. In seguito le altre grandi compagnie produttrici di tabacco hanno stipulato accordi simili. Il 90% di questi fondi sono stati distribuiti agli Stati membri, ma rimane ignoto il modo in cui questi abbiano effettivamente utilizzato tali fondi.

Il fumo è la principale causa di morte evitabile nell’UE e provoca circa 700 000 decessi ogni anno. Per il trattamento di pazienti affetti da patologie attribuibili al fumo di tabacco la spesa ospedaliera ammonta a circa 3,4 mld di euro, mentre la spesa sanitaria complessiva è di oltre 7,5 mld di euro. La Commissione non sa ancora se rinnoverà tali accordi: in ogni caso credo che sia necessario rivedere le regole relative alla trasparenza dei dati. Dove sono stati spesi tali fondi? Quali azioni hanno intrapreso gli Stati membri per prevenire la circolazione di prodotti di contrabbando e contraffatti? Quante sigarette sequestrate provenivano direttamente dalle aziende produttrici?

 
  
  

PRESIDENZA DELL'ON. ANTONIO TAJANI
Vicepresidente

 
Juridische mededeling