Parliamentary question - O-000055/2023Parliamentary question

The case of Dentsu Tracking and the Commission’s lack of transparency with regard to the tobacco industry


Question for oral answer  O-000055/2023
to the Commission
Rule 136
Pierre Larrouturou (S&D), René Repasi (S&D), Anne-Sophie Pelletier (The Left), Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), Frédérique Ries (Renew), Karen Melchior (Renew), Olivier Chastel (Renew), José Gusmão (The Left), Marisa Matias (The Left), Fabio Massimo Castaldo (NI), Pascal Arimont (PPE), Nikos Papandreou (S&D), Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), Matjaž Nemec (S&D), Damien Carême (Verts/ALE), Petros Kokkalis (The Left), Ivan Vilibor Sinčić (NI), Anja Hazekamp (The Left), Maria Arena (S&D), Manon Aubry (The Left), Christel Schaldemose (S&D), Birgit Sippel (S&D), Michèle Rivasi (Verts/ALE), Maria Grapini (S&D), Nora Mebarek (S&D), Estrella Durá Ferrandis (S&D), Dimitrios Papadimoulis (The Left), Rosa D'Amato (Verts/ALE), Helmut Scholz (The Left), Billy Kelleher (Renew), Francesca Donato (NI), Nicolás González Casares (S&D), Claude Gruffat (Verts/ALE), Francisco Guerreiro (Verts/ALE), Dorien Rookmaker (ECR), Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D), Romana Jerković (S&D), Domènec Ruiz Devesa (S&D)

In the framework of the Tobacco Products Directive, the Commission established a European system of tobacco traceability to fight against illicit trade in tobacco products.

In 2018, Dentsu Tracking, a provider of ‘trace and track solutions’, was appointed by Directorate B2 of the Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) to provide the secondary repository to the Commission following a rather opaque selection process in which no public tender was required[1]. In 2020, this same company hired a member of DG SANTE who had worked on tobacco traceability as the director of its regulatory affairs and compliance division[2].

The company, whose links with the tobacco industry are well documented, has dubious connections to Blue Infinity and Codentify[3], a track and trace system initially developed by Philip Morris International. This raises questions as to Dentsu Tracking’s independence from the tobacco industry, as defined in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)[4], which was ratified by the EU and protects public health policies from commercial interference[5].

The lack of transparency of the Commission’s interactions with tobacco interest representatives has already been described as ‘maladministration’ by the European Ombudsman in her preliminary findings of 14 April 2023[6].

In mid-September, a spokesperson for the Ombudsman stated[7] that ‘we continue to find it hard to understand why the Commission is not ready to embrace transparency in this area’.

In light of the above:

Submitted: 29.11.2023

Lapses: 1.3.2024

Last updated: 30 November 2023
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