Open letter to the German Greens

Bruxelles/Brussel, 12 December 2002,

Tobacco Advertising Ban

Open letter to the German Greens

The Green EFA group in the European Parliament welcomes the position of Minister Renate Künast and the German Greens in the Bundestag not to take the newly agreed EU directive on tobacco advertising ban to the European Court of Justice. [:]

This Directive, which bans direct advertising in the radio and press across the European Union, is an important step to end distortions of the internal market and unfair competition conditions due to some Member States allowing tobacco advertising. The directive is legally sound and perfectly within limits of the EU competencies. We, as Greens, would have liked to see a more extended ban, but abstained from proposing changes in this direction to avoid prologing the adoption of the directive and risking the legal base. It would give a very negative signal of the German government if it would delay the entry into force of the Directive by appealing it to the Court.

We are pleased to know that the Greens in the German government have distanced themselves from the longstanding priority Germany has given to the economic interests of tobacco industry and publishing houses. The public health interest has to be recognised to take precedence over short-term economic interests.

Half a million people die of tobacco related illnesses in the EU every year. The banning of advertising of this deadly commodity has direct impact on public health. We hope that the decision of German government today will ensure that no time will be wasted in the struggle against tobacco.

On behalf of the Green/EFA group
in the European Parliament

Heidi Hautala, MEP

For further information please contact:

Helmut Weixler
Head of Press Office
The Greens/EFA in the European Parliament
Tel: (Bxl) +32 2 2844683
phone: 0032 475 671 340
fax: 0032 2 2844944
mobile phone: 0032-475-67 13 40