The FINANCIAL -- A
landmark political agreement was reached by Ministers at the Health
Council in Luxembourg, bringing the EU a step closer to revamping rules
on how tobacco products are produced, packaged and presented in Member
States and stepping up health protection for EU citizens, according to the European Commission.
The Council, chaired by Ireland’s Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly TD, agreed on a range of measures that will pave the way to reducing the number of people taking up smoking in the EU. The agreement, coming just six months after the original Proposal was published by the Commission, includes new rules on how tobacco products should be labelled, packaged and manufactured. It also targets product ‘attractiveness’, with young people firmly in mind, according to the European Commission.
Minister Reilly warmly welcomed the outcome, saying it was ‘a remarkable achievement for the Irish Presidency, which set the ambitious target of reaching Council agreement on this important file in the space of six months. The fact that this has happened represents a huge step forward in the fight against tobacco use, as well as a victory for public health against those unwilling to acknowledge the devastating consequences of tobacco addiction in our society.’
He added ‘700,000 people die every year from tobacco-related diseases in the EU. The health and economic burden that this is placing on us is enormous. Given that the that the large majority of smokers start before the age of 18, the measures agreed today are of vital importance for the future of European public health.’
Reaching a Council agreement on the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive had been the main priority of the Irish Presidency in the field of Public Health, and is significant, coming only six months after the controversial Proposal was first published by the Commission in December 2012, saidn the European Commission.
Since then the Irish Presidency has prioritised work on the file and has set about building consensus amongst Member States in a bid to ensure a common position could be reached at the Health Council in June.
Ministers at the Council also heard progress reports from the Irish Presidency on two of its other priority files: Clinical Trials Proposal – which aims to boost clinical research on medicines in the EU by simplifying and harmonising the rules on approving clinical trials, while ensuring protection of subjects – and Medical Devices Proposals – which aim to ensure a safer, more effective regulatory framework in Europe which promotes innovation in the medical devices sector. The Presidency reported very good progress on both; a first read-through of the Clinical Trials Proposal has been completed at Working Group level and substantial progress has been made on the important but complex Medical Devices Proposals.