Tobacco facing stricter regime
EU LAW UPDATE:On December 19th, the European Commission adopted proposals for the amendment of the Tobacco Products Directive which would result in stricter requirements in respect of the manufacture, packaging and sale of cigarettes.
The most significant of the proposals would see health warnings (consisting of both images and text) occupying 75 per cent of the front and back of cigarette packages and a prohibition on tobacco products having characterising flavours, such as menthol cigarettes.
The proposals will now be passed to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers for their consideration.
The European Commission anticipates that legislation will be adopted in 2014 to come into force in 2015-2016.
Fines for Ireland
On the same day, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) imposed fines on Ireland (Cases C-279/11 and C-374/ 11) arising from the State’s failure to bring Irish law into compliance with two previous judgments of the ECJ in which Ireland was found to have breached EU law in respect of the environmental impact assessment process and waste water management respectively.
The fines consisted of lump sum fines totalling €3.5 million and a recurring fine of €12,000 a day until the State complies with EU law in respect of waste water management.
The fines imposed were lower than those sought by the European Commission as the European Court of Justice, in setting the level of fines, took into account the fact that the State has a reduced ability to pay such fines as a result of the economic crisis.
On December 13th, the ECJ handed down judgment in Case 379/11 Caves Krier Freres in which it reiterated that measures taken by member states to reintegrate the unemployed into the labour market cannot breach the provisions of EU law.
The measure in question was adopted in Luxembourg whereby employers, who recruited previously unemployed workers, would be reimbursed their social security payments made in respect of such employees, provided that the employees were over the age of 45 and had been registered as unemployed with the Luxembourgish unemployment service for at least one month.
Since such registration was only possible for individuals resident in Luxembourg, the European Court of Justice determined that the measure in question had the effect of discriminating against job-seekers from other EU member states travelling to Luxembourg to seek employment.
Donogh Hardiman is chairman of the Irish Society for European Law