• June 21, 2024

Reflecting on smuggling

 Reflecting on smuggling

The European Commission has said that it is reflecting on whether additional activities should be proposed in respect of the implementation of its 2013 strategy aimed at combatting the illegal trade in tobacco products.
The Commission was replying in writing to two questions from the German member of the European Parliament, Wolf Klinz, who said, in a preamble to his questions, that the EU had been confronted with the smuggling of tobacco products across its eastern and southern borders.
The cheap prices of smuggled tobacco products risked undermining the EU’s efforts to limit smoking, he added, before asking:
‘Is the Commission aware of the smuggling methods and the organized groups behind the smuggling?
‘What is the Commission doing to combat the smuggling?’
In reply, the Commission said the illegal tobacco trade was a cross-border phenomenon that required a global approach and international co-operation.
‘In the past years, the Commission has promoted the ratification of a new global anti-smuggling treaty, i.e. the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control…,’ it said. ‘The Commission welcomes the entry into force of the Protocol in September 2018 as a significant step forward in the fight against cigarette smuggling.
‘The Commission presented in May 2017 a report on progress in the fight against the illicit tobacco trade; that report also touches upon current smuggling trends. The report found that, despite the measures taken in recent years, the illicit tobacco trade remains at preoccupying levels in the EU. The Commission is therefore currently reflecting whether additional activities should be proposed in implementation of its 2013 strategy, which remains pertinent and relevant.
‘The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has an investigative mandate to fight tobacco smuggling into the EU. OLAF also co-ordinates anti-smuggling operations carried out by law-enforcement agencies across Europe and ensures that evaded duties are recovered, smuggling networks are dismantled and perpetrators brought to justice. OLAF is well aware of current trends in the smuggling of tobacco products.’