Group leaders in the European Parliament agreed yesterday to delay until Oct. 8 a vote on a new Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) that had been scheduled for Sept. 10 in Strasbourg, according to a story by Dave Keating for the European Voice.
Center-right German and British MEPs pushed for the delay, saying there had not been enough time to digest the position of the environment and health committee, adopted in July. They were supported by the ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) group.
MEPs were concerned also about how the vote could affect or be affected by the federal election in Germany scheduled for Sept. 22. Some German MEPs will be absent from next week’s plenary session of parliament because of campaigning duties.
Linda McAvan, a British MEP who is leading the parliament’s work on the issue, opposed the delay, as did German MEP Karl-Heinz Florenz, shadow rapporteur for the European People’s Party (EPP).
The call for a delay followed a barrage of lobbying from both sides of the issue this week as MEPs returned from their summer breaks. Health campaigners are concerned that it is a delaying tactic by the tobacco industry intent on ensuring that the revision of the TPD will not be agreed on by the end of the current parliament and European Commission mandate in 2014.
However, a spokesperson for the EPP said that a delay of a couple of weeks would not create an obstacle to reaching an agreement before the end of the Lithuanian presidency.
Meanwhile, a number of amendments to the proposed TPD had been filed by the deadline of noon on Sept. 4. These amendments are aimed at, among other aspects of the TPD, its impact on menthol and slim cigarettes, tobacco packaging, snus and e-cigarettes.