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Parliamentary questions
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11 March 2020
Priority question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 138
Michèle Rivasi
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Conformity of the traceability system for tobacco products in force in the EU with obligations under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

In its answer to written question E-003162-19, the Commission said that ‘[t]he EU traceability system is fully in line with multilateral obligations under the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC Protocol)’.

This is a surprising claim and gives rise to a number of questions as to its accuracy.

Indeed, it is a claim which is contested first and foremost by the anti-smoking associations (1) . It is also contested in a Commission working document, which notes that the upstream part of the supply chain (i.e. from raw tobacco to the manufacturing site) is left without effective control and that the lack of control of the supply chain remains a constant problem (2) .

Similarly, a study commissioned by Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety from the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) on public health policies for the 2019-2024 term is clear on tobacco, in particular on illicit trade. It states that by 2023, the EU system must be compliant and interoperable with the global system, which might require a third action plan (3) . So far it is not.

What measures is the Commission planning to implement to bring its tobacco traceability system into line with Article 15 of the FCTC Protocol in 2020?

(1)The European monitoring and traceability system for tobacco products remains dependent on the tobacco industry, communiqué from the French National Anti-smoking Committee published on 20 May 2019 on cnct.fr
(2)Evaluation of the Council Directive 2011/64/EU of 21 June 2011 on the structure and rates of excise duty applied to manufactured tobacco, SWD(2020)0032, 10.2.2020, p. 48.
(3)EU Public Health Policies, State of play, current and future challenges, PE 638.426, September 2019.
Original language of question: FR
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