James Reilly criticises EU lack of detail on tobacco industry

Commission rejects calls from European ombudsman Emily O’Reilly for transparency

Minister for Children James Reilly: “The industry, with its multibillion-euro resources, has a major lobbying programme at work.” Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Minister for Children James Reilly: “The industry, with its multibillion-euro resources, has a major lobbying programme at work.” Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

Minister for Children James Reilly has criticised the European Commission for failing to detail their dealings with the tobacco industry.

The commission has rejected calls from European ombudsman Emily O’Reilly for transparency on its discussions with the industry.

Dr Reilly said the position was “extremely disappointing”, considering the high death rate from tobacco-related illnesses.

“It is not acceptable that the European Parliament works hard to progress a tobacco directive which seeks to protect public health and yet the commission is not proactively transparent in all its dealings with the tobacco industry.

“The industry, with its multibillion-euro resources, has a major lobbying programme at work with the clear intention of hindering or rolling back progressive public health measures aimed at reducing the prevalence of smoking.”

A report by the European Ombudsman in October sharply criticised the European Commission’s transparency policy regarding contacts with the tobacco industry, accusing the commission of breaching World Health Organisation (WHO) disclosure rules.

While the health directorate general of the European Commission publicises its dealings with the tobacco industry, Ms O’Reilly said this policy should be extended to all sections of the commission.

However, it has rejected the findings of the investigation, arguing that its current policy is in line with WHO rules.