The Taxpayers Association of Europe Warns of Unneccessary Deadline Pressure

The Implementation of the EU Tobacco Products Directive Threatens Mid-Sized Companies in this Industry Sector

In view of tomorrows hearing in the German Bundestag, the Taxpayers Association of Europe (TAE) warns of the results of a rushed implementation of the tobacco products legislation to be passed.

According to EU directives, all cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco have to be packaged in an unattractive way and accompanied by shocking images. It is right to prevent youngsters from smoking, but a deadline that is too tight poses a threat to the existence of an entire economic sector, according to the Taxpayers Association of Europe.

Rolf von Hohenhau, President of the Taxpayers Association of Europe warns of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. So far nobody knows what the new packaging will have to look like, but the industry is supposed to have easily designed, assembled and installed new machines and have them running by May. This is bureaucratic nonsense, which could lead the tobacco industry, which is characterised by mid-sized companies, to the brink of ruin.

The Taxpayers Association sees a competitive disadvantage and further weakening especially for the German medium sized companies. There are about 3,000 brands with different packaging on the tobacco market, and they are supposed to be repackaged more or less overnight. An extended transition period of 12-15 months would be the minimum, says Rolf von Hohenhau, who knows the German Bundesrat (Federal Council) behind him. The Council already asked the German government to refrain from a implementation deadline that is too tight.

17 billion Euro (incl. VAT) is the amount that Finance Minister Schäuble earns each year off the smokers. The new law will make popular packaging, like metal cans for loose fine-cut tobacco, impossible. Additives like menthol are going to be completely forbidden. If this would lead to less smoking, one could think that is serves the national health, but the Finance Minister would have to do without income of triple-digit millions. This would be missing in the national budget.

Munich/Brussels, February 16, 2016

Taxpayers Association of Europe, Office Munich:
Nymphenburger Str. 118, D-80636 München
Tel.: +49 89 126 00 820 | Fax: +49 89 126 00 847

Taxpayers Association of Europe, Office Brussels:
Rue d’Arlon 46,  B-1000 Brussels
+32 2 588 15 20 (Phone)