Tobacco agreement (PMI agreement)
Question for oral answer O-000010/2016
to the Commission
Bart Staes, José Bové
on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group
Four cooperation agreements are 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. 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.
For years, and particularly since May 2015, the Commission has been postponing the publication of the assessment related to the PMI agreement. The PMI agreement is due to expire in less than 6 months and Parliament, the only directly elected body, has not been kept properly informed so far. This is democratically unacceptable. European citizens must be aware of the Commission’s point of view on the possibility of renewing the PMI agreement and on the ongoing backdoor negotiations between the Commission and PMI.
1. When will the Commission provide Parliament with the assessments it requested on 3 April 2014 in its resolution on the Annual Report 2012 on the protection of the EU’s financial interests – Fight against fraud and its discharge resolution in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2012? What has caused this substantial delay in providing the assessment? Any further postponement could be seen as a violation of the promise made by the Commissioner to Parliament to deliver the assessment on time.
2. What are the main results that have been achieved under the current agreements with the tobacco manufacturers? What are the setbacks? What is the position of the Commission as to the added value of renewing the current agreements?
3. What is the state of play of the negotiations? What schedule is foreseen? When and how will Parliament be informed?
4. What have the financial implications been for the Union and the Member States, including the fines over the period the agreements were in force?
5. What is the Commission’s proposal regarding the purpose and distribution of the financial benefits from any future agreement?
6. What is the Commission’s position on introducing an EU-wide tobacco tax or levy, as an EU own resource, to fight against tobacco smuggling, counterfeiting and illicit whites; on strengthening the EU programmes in this field in order to support the Member States; and on financing programmes to protect public health in the EU?
Deadline for reply: 4.2.2016