Taoiseach writes to MEPs before key tobacco vote
Taoiseach writes to Irish MEPs and members of European People’s Party in advance of vote
Taoiseach said he was concerned at a proposal to reduce the size of the health warning on cigarette packaging to 50 per cent from the 75 per cent advocated by the member states.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has written to all Irish MEPs and members of the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament urging them not to vote in favour of an amendment which would reduce the size of health warnings on cigarette packaging.
MEPs will vote today in Strasbourg on a number of proposed amendments to the EU’s tobacco directive, a key piece of EU legislation which was agreed by EU health ministers under the Irish presidency of the EU Council in June. Under the EU system, the European Parliament must now agree on their own position on the directive before negotiations with member states on a final package can begin.
However, the parliament’s vote on the directive was postponed last month amid widespread allegations of intense lobbying by tobacco companies and resistance from some tobacco-producing member states.
In the letter sent yesterday to MEPs and co-signed by Minister for Health James Reilly, Enda Kenny said he was concerned at a proposal to reduce the size of the health warning on cigarette packaging to 50 per cent from the 75 per cent advocated by the member states. Mr Kenny said an amendment to reduce the size of the health warning could jeopardise the conclusion of the negotiations before next year’s European Parliament elections.
As well as the proposal on packaging, MEPs will vote on a proposal to ban menthol cigarettes and a controversial proposal to regulate e-cigarettes as a medicinal product. The parliament could also opt to delay the vote once more.
While the new rules would be binding on all countries in the European Union, individual member states are free to introduce their own, more stringent anti-tobacco measures.