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TAE welcomes the critical remarks of the German Minister Ilse Aigner regarding the EU Tobacco Products Directive

Taxpayers Association supports the government’s concerns as to the effectiveness of shock images in the context of the Tobacco Products Directive

According to media reports, the governing coalition is now also calling on the EU Commission to provide scientific proof of an important point in the new Tobacco Products Directive namely the effectiveness of measures such as oversized shock images. The Taxpayers Association of Europe (TAE) expressly welcomes the critical remarks of the German Ministry for Consumer Protection made by Ilse Aigner (CSU) regarding the EU plans and calls for further improvements.

The introduction of shock images on 75% of packaging, the standardization of product and packaging and the ban of whole product segments through a ban of so-called characterizing flavors are drastic interferences in the market. Measures which severely restrict a legal market and for which no scientific proof of success has been provided.

If the plans propagated by the EU Commission so far are implemented, this could lead to tax shortfalls of up to 30 billion euros Europe-wide, according to studies. Rolf von Hohenhau, President of the Taxpayers Association of Europe therefore urges a comprehensive debate which considers the consequences of a new TPD in all sectors: “The government initiative is a first step in the right direction, because nothing has changed in terms of the dramatic impact of the TPD. We oppose measures which put jobs at risk and lead to tax losses and do this without making a comprehensive assessment of the legal impact.” It is feared that part of the market will be lost to illicit trade due to the proposed measures. In addition, for example, the standardization of packaging and product, will lead to price wars in the market, since the price will become the sole distinguishing feature. Both would run counter to the defined objective to improve health protection, says Rolf von Hohenhau.

It is important to address this topic, says Rolf von Hohenhau, especially against the background that this Directive is a precedent for many other sectors. Mr. von Hohenhau: “Such a comprehensive and massive regulation must necessarily be done on a scientific basis and the consequences for all parties involved must be considered. The comment of the Federal Government can only be a first step in this regard; it is now a matter of assessing and discussing the proposals in detail together.

Munich/Brussels, March 11, 2013

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