Fixing cigarette prices - Belgium under fire

2nd August 2006, Comments 0 comments

2 August 2006BRUSSELS - Belgium and France are under fire from the European Commission for fixing minimum retail prices for cigarettes.The Commission believes that such prices do not respect Community law, distort competition and benefit manufacturers only by safeguarding their profit margins.

2 August 2006

BRUSSELS - Belgium and France are under fire from the European Commission for fixing minimum retail prices for cigarettes.

The Commission believes that such prices do not respect Community law, distort competition and benefit manufacturers only by safeguarding their profit margins.

In order to reduce tobacco consumption - a positive step towards boosting public health - the Commission advocates increasing the excise duty on cigarettes.

It sent a 'reasoned opinion' in June 2006 to both countries - this is an early stage in possible legal action by the Commission against member states.

The document details the grounds for possible legal action and sets a date for the matter to be resolved.

For France and Belgium, this was within two months, so the deadline is fast approaching.

If France and Belgium do not increase excise duty on cheap cigarettes within the timeframe, the Commission can then bring an action in the European Court of Justice.

A strategy meeting on the future of tobacco control in Europe, to agree targets and policies which will be given priority and will set the agenda for the overall European tobacco control for the next five years, is scheduled to take place in Brussels 28 and 29 September.

The event will be supported by the European Public Health Alliance. For more information, go to www.epha.org.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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