Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-06-13-Speech-2-101"

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"Mr President, although I value the work of rapporteur Maaten, I have to say that I am greatly disturbed by the European Parliament’s inconsistent line with regard to tobacco. The report once again reflects the ambivalence of the European Union – as has been highlighted in this debate – which subsidises the tobacco cultivation by more than EUR one billion and collects more than EUR 70 billion in tax money annually on the one hand and which curbs the sale of tobacco products on the other. I would also like to emphasise that it is not up to the European Parliament to deny tobacco products, which are legally available on the market, a fair chance of commercialisation. What strikes me in the debate is that we seem to overlook the objective of this directive. It aims to reinforce the internal market by promoting better harmonisation and by removing barriers to trade. In this respect, I notice an imbalance in the present report, an imbalance between the need for harmonisation and the aim of protecting the consumer. I take exception to the fact that the consumer is considered as someone who cannot judge for himself what he should or should not do. The proposed warnings on the packet completely miss the point. Whatever the dimensions, the information will remain ineffective. Information on the dangers of smoking will need to be conveyed in a more effective way if we want to achieve the objective. Above all, we should not forget that it is – and should remain – up to the citizens to decide for themselves how they wish to conduct their lives and they should be able to continue to do so."@en1

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