Discussions on revision of the Tobacco Directive are off to a flying start. Two months after the European Commission presented its draft, the subject has already been discussed three times in the Council and the Irish Presidency has already planned another ten meetings. The same goes for Parliament: Socialist rapporteur Linda McAvan (UK) said at a public hearing, on 25 February, that she would present her report in March with a view to securing EP adoption next autumn.
The Commission presented, on 19 December 2012, a draft directive amending Directive 2001/37/EC on the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products. Its key measures include a ban on long and menthol cigarettes, and tighter regulation of electronic cigarettes and package appearance. Since then, the EU institutions have launched a race against the clock. Proponents of the proposal want to wrap up the work before the parliamentary elections in 2014, which would further delay revision of the directive. But the recent public hearings showed that positions vary widely in the institutions.
POLAND ON FRONT LINE
At the 19 February Competitiveness Council, the Polish delegation drew the ministers' attention to the proposal's potential consequences on economic operators. It called for a debate...