In a resolution voted today (Wednesday), MEPs have urged the European Commission not to renew its agreement with tobacco giant Philip Morris on combatting smuggling and counterfeiting of tobacco products in the EU. In place since 2004, the deal is due to expire this July.
Officially, the European Parliament does not have a say on whether or not the college should renew the deal. However, European health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis has also said he was against maintaining the partnership.
By signing the agreement, Philip Morris had agreed to up its efforts to combat smuggling and counterfeiting of tobacco products in the EU, and to pay the Union and its member states over €1bn throughout the deal's lifespan.
Some of the money has gone to the European anti-fraud office (OLAF), prompting fears over a possible conflict of interests. Additionally, the sale of counterfeit tobacco products still costs the EU around €10bn in lost revenue.
MEPs have called upon the Commission to implement the 2014 EU tobacco directive, which includes a proposal for an interoperable tracing and tracking system of cigarettes at EU level.
Greens/EFA group MEP Bart Staes called on the Brussels executive to, "stop kowtowing to the industry and abandon its poacher-turned-gamekeeper approach to regulating the sector."