Alternattiva Demokratika

The Green Party

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PPE interested in tobacco industry’s profit, not public health


A crucial vote of the European Parliament on revised EU legislation on tobacco products, which was foreseen for this week,  has been postponed to next October. The leaders of the main centre-right political groups in the European Parliament (EPP, ALDE and ECR) colluded to postpone the vote on the EU tobacco directive.Prof. Arnold Cassola, Alternattiva Demokratika Chairperson, said: "It is ironic that while the major electoral platform for Commissioner Tonio Borg was his promise to ensure that the Tobacco Directive would go through before the end of this European Parliament in April 2014, his colleagues from the European Popular Party (EPP) were on the forefront to ensure that the agreed timetable would be derailed.  What is going on behind all this?"

Greens/EFA co-president in the European Parliament Rebecca Harms stated:

"The centre-right political groups, led by the EPP, have shamelessly done the bidding of the tobacco industry in postponing the vote on the tobacco directive. There should be no doubt: this is a cynical exercise designed to buy time for the tobacco lobby, with a view to watering down the draft legislation. This is all the more outrageous as it was the European Parliament that had pushed the Commission to deliver the proposal as soon as possible. The timetable in the EP was agreed amongst all groups at the beginning of the year and Council already adopted a general approach in June. Delaying the process now is nothing but a desperate attempt to undermine the strong position adopted by the public health committee. It is scandalous that the centre-right in this house seems to be more concerned about the profits of the tobacco industry than public health."

Green public health spokesperson Carl Schlyter added:

"The EPP is engaging in a double-strike strategy: postponing the vote to buy time, while pushing amendments that seek to weaken the proposals at the behest of the tobacco lobby. The EP's public health committee voted for robust legislation, with a view to tackling the number one killer in the EU - smoking kills 700,000 Europeans every year - but the EPP group is seeking to dismantle core elements of the proposals.

Prof. Arnold Cassola endorsed Schlyter's position that "The Greens will work to ensure that the tobacco directive emerges unscathed from the European Parliament, so that it can deliver its aim of reducing the devastating public health impact of these products."

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Il-Greens jistaqsu: Għalfejn giet posposta d-direttiva tat-tabakk?

Vot kruċjali tal-Parlament Ewropew dwar leġiżlazzjoni tal-EU fuq prodotti tat-tabakk li ġiet emendata, u li kien ippjanat li jsir din il-ġimgħa, ġie pospost għal Ottubru li ġej. Il-mexxejja tal-gruppi politiċi prinċipali taċ-ċentru-lemin fil-Parlament Ewropew (PPE, ALDE u ECR) ħadmu id f'id biex jipposponu l-vot fuq id-direttiva tat-tabakk tal-UE.Prof. Arnold Cassola, iċ-Chairperson ta' Alternattiva Demokratika, qal: "Hija ironika li filwaqt li l-punt ewlieni tal-programm elettorali tal-Kummissarju Tonio Borg kien il-wegħda tiegħu li jara li d-Direttiva tat-Tabakk tkun għaddiet qabel ix-xoljiment ta' dan il-Parlament Ewropew f'April tal-2014, il-kollegi tiegħu mill-Partit Popolari Ewropew (PPE) kienu fuq quddiem biex jiżguraw li l-programm tal-Parlament ma jimxix skont ma kif kien maqbul u ippjanat. X'hemm għaddej wara dan kollu?"

Il-viċi president tal-Greens/EFA fil-Parlament Ewropew, Rebecca Harms, qalet:

"Il-gruppi politiċi taċ-ċentru-lemin, immexxija mill-PPE, għamlu dak li xtaqithom jagħmlu l-industrija tat-tabakk, li jipposponu l-vot fuq id-direttiva tat-tabakk.  M'għandu jkun hemm l-ebda dubju: dan huwa ezercizzju ċiniku iddisinjat biex jirbaħ aktar ħin għall-lobby tat-tabakk, bil-ħsieb li jibdlu l-leġiżlazzjoni proposta favur tagħhom.  Is-sitwazzjoni hija aktar gravi għaliex kien il-Parlament Ewropew li kien għamel pressjoni fuq il-Kummissjoni biex tippreżenta l-proposti fl-inqas ħin possibbli.  L-iskeda tal-Parlament Ewropew ġiet maqbula fost il-gruppi kollha fil-bidu tas-sena u l-Kunsill diġa addotta pożizzjoni ġenerali f'Ġunju.  It-titwil tal-process m'hu xejn ħlief attentat iddisprat biex tiġi imminata l-pożizzjoni soda meħuda mill-kumitat tas-saħħa pubblika. Huwa skandaluż li ċ-ċentru-lemin f'dan il-Parlament jidher li jimpurtah aktar mill-profitti tal-industrija tat-tabakk milli mis-saħħa pubblika."

Il-kelliem tal-Greens dwar is-saħħa pubblika, Carl Schlyter, żied jgħid:

"Il-PPE qiegħed jipprova jolqot żewġ għasafar b'ġebla waħda bl-istrateġija tiegħu: li jipposponi l-vot biex jirbaħ aktar ħin, filwaqt li jagħmel pressjoni biex isiru emendi biex idagħjfu l-proposti tal-leġiżlazzjoni skont ix-xewqa tal-industrija tat-tabakk. Il-kumitat dwar is-saħħa pubblika tal-PE ivvota għal leġiżlazzjoni robusta, bil-ħsieb li jindirizza l-qattiel ewlieni fl-UE - it-tipjip joqtol 700,000 Ewropew kull sena - imma l-grupp tal-PPE qiegħed jipprova jżarma l-elementi prinċipali ta' dawn il-proposti."

Il-Prof. Arnold Cassola jappoġġa l-pożizzjoni ta' Schlyter li "Il-Greens Ewropej jaħdmu biex jaraw li d-direttiva tat-tabakk tgħaddi mill-Parlament Ewropew mingħajr ma tiġi mittiefsa, biex tkun tista' tilħaq l-għan principali tagħha li tnaqqas l-impatt devastanti ta' dawn il-prodotti fuq is-saħħa pubblika."