On 9 March 2016, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution stating that the European Commission should not renew, extend or renegotiate the Agreement with Phillips Morris International (PMI) beyond its current date of expiry in July 2016.
On 10 March 2016, ENSP and ERS wrote to Vice-President Georgieva to express our delight at the news that the European Parliament had voted by a resounding majority to reject the extension of the agreement between Philip Morris International and the EU; and to call on the European Commission to follow this major step forward by not renewing the deal. Please read our initial statement.
On 18 April 2016, Vice-President Georgieva responded to the joint document in a letter where she specifically stated:
- The Commission has not yet taken a decision on the future of the PMI Agreement;
- The PMI Agreement has effectively met its objective of reducing the prevalence of PMI contraband on the illicit EU tobacco market;
- The Commission is of the opinion that the Agreements are in conformity with Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The WHO FCTC Guidelines on the implementation of Article 5.3 FCTC contain an exemption for legally binding and enforceable agreements, such as the EU’s tobacco agreements.
Last Friday, Dr Francisco Rodríguez Lozano, President of ENSP and Prof. Carlos Jimenez-Ruiz, Chair of the ERS Tobacco Control Committee jointly replied to the various points in Vice-President Georgieva’s letter, highlighting three main key points (see formal letter here):
- The renewal of the PMI Agreement would be ineffective for tackling the illicit tobacco trade;
- The regulatory environment has change especially with the 2014 Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) and the WHO Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade In Tobacco Products (FCTC Protocol);
- The renewal of the PMI Agreement would also violate Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).