Motion for a resolution - B8-0311/2016Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the tobacco agreement (PMI agreement)

2.3.2016 - (2016/2555(RSP))

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

Dennis de Jong, Rina Ronja Kari, Patrick Le Hyaric, Martina Anderson, Marisa Matias, Liadh Ní Riada, Matt Carthy, Lynn Boylan, Barbara Spinelli, Anja Hazekamp, Stefan Eck, Merja Kyllönen, Jiří Maštálka, Kateřina Konečná, Fabio De Masi, Kostas Chrysogonos on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

Procedure : 2016/2555(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
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Texts adopted :


European Parliament resolution on the tobacco agreement (PMI agreement)


The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Commission’s Green Paper ‘Towards a Europe free from tobacco smoke: policy options at EU level’ (COM(2007)0027),

–  having regard to the 2003 WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC),

–  having regard to the 2004 WHO European Strategy for Smoking Cessation Policy,

–  having regard to the 2007 WHO policy recommendations on protection from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke,

–  having regard to the four cooperation agreements currently in force between the Member States and the EU, and Philip Morris International (PMI), Japan Tobacco International (JTI), Imperial Tobacco Limited (ITL) and British American Tobacco (BAT) respectively,

–  having regard to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products,

–  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 (the Tobacco Product Directive),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document - 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 concerning a possible decision on opening negotiations between the European Union and the Tobacco industry (SWD(2016)0044) ,

–  having regard to the questions to the Commission on the tobacco agreement (PMI agreement) (O-000010/2016B8-1019/2016, O-000014/2016 – B8-0110/2016, O‑000015 – B8-0111/2016, O-000016 – B8-0112/2016, O-000017 – B8-01113/2016, O-000018/2016 – B8-0114/2016 and O-000019/2016 – B8-0115/2016),

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

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

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

C.  whereas tobacco fraud is a public health concern that poses an even greater health risk than do genuine cigarettes: whereas, since counterfeit cigarettes are illegally manufactured and imported, the ingredients used are not known;

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

E.  whereas 700 000 EU citizens die prematurely every year from smoking;

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

G.  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;

H.  whereas the agreement with PMI is due to expire in July 2016 and requires the parties to meet soon with a view to exploring whether or not the cooperation agreement should be extended;

1.  Welcomes the Commission’s report on its assessment of the PMI tobacco agreement;

2.  Notes that the Commission’s report indicates the large amounts of contraband present on the EU market and the sharp increase in seizures of ‘cheap whites’, and draws the conclusion that there has been no positive effect on public health stemming from the PMI agreement;

3.  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;

4.  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 provides for a similar global requirement, which is likely to take effect in 2022 or 2023;

5.  Emphasises that the only guiding factor when considering a possible extension of agreements with the tobacco industry should be public health considerations, and that the fact that the Commission and Member States receive significant annual payments from the tobacco industry for fighting counterfeiting of its cigarettes should not in any way influence decision-making in this respect;

6.  Is deeply concerned that the budget of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) is partly financed by yearly payments from the tobacco industry, as mentioned in the tobacco agreements, since this could lead to a certain conflict of interest;

7.  Recalls that the secret and informal negotiations between the Commission and the tobacco industry in the light of the upcoming expiry of the PMI agreement are contrary to the transparency goals proclaimed by President Juncker and Vice-President Timmermans;

8.  Emphasises that the tobacco agreements are at odds with Article 5(3) of the WHO Framework Convention, which states that Parties shall act to protect their public health policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry, as well as with Article 8(12) of the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, which states that obligations assigned to a Party shall not be performed by or delegated to the tobacco industry;

9.  Emphasises that the Commission should focus on European and international legislative tools in order to combat counterfeit and contraband cigarettes;

10.  Asks the Commission to prioritise the combined use of the Tobacco Product Directive of 2014 and the WHO Protocol, which foresee track-and-trace provisions and introduce security features facilitating law enforcement, and are the best instruments to fight illicit trade in the EU, as stated in the Commission’s report;

11.  Requests that the Commission halt any further contacts with PMI or other tobacco manufacturers about a possible extension of the tobacco agreements and refrain altogether from any further agreements of this type;

12.  Calls on the Council not to authorise the opening of negotiations with PMI or other tobacco manufacturers about a possible extension of the tobacco agreements and to refrain altogether from any further agreements of this type;

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