Saturday 20 October 2012

More on Snusgate

Malta Today has more on the EU/Dalli/snusgate car crash. It is doubtful whether anything this man says can be trusted, but John Dalli claims to have been planning a truly prohibitionist Tobacco Products Directive:

"I finalised the directive on 25 February, which kept the snus ban and also proposed a ban on all smokeless tobacco."

So much for consulting EU citizens, who were overwhelmingly in favour of lifting the ban on snus. Dalli explains his reasoning, which naturally has nothing do with health and everything to do with politics.

"A court sentence [sic] already bans the sale of snus outside Sweden. Changing it would have been political suicide."

Political suicide? Strong words, but an interesting choice of words, since Patrik Hildingsson of Swedish Match recalls the attempt to solicit a bribe of €60 million!) as follows:

"The Maltese businessman expressed to us very clearly that he was speaking on behalf of Dalli. He had a manner and information that made us wary," Hildingsson said.

"He said it was, in principle, political suicide to lift the ban and therefore he wanted money for it, simply put, since the career (of the EU commissioner) would be over afterwards."

Sounds like the two men from Malta were, at the very least, of the same mind and using the same language.


Unknown said...

Isn't amazing how the directive was apparently finalised before the end of consultation. Seems as if the end result was predetermined all along. I'd love to be surprised.....

Dirk said...

Tom, it's even worse! The public consultation ended in December 2010. It received around 80.000 responses. Around 80% of the reponses favoured a lifting of the ban and around 15% wanted to keep the status quo, which two years ago was much better for us snusers than it is today. Yes, for many snusers the online orders from Sweden have even been preferable to a situation where one would have to deal with national taxes and regulations. Since March 2011 the EU has closed most supply channels. So the outcome of the consultation was 95% pro snus, which the undemocratic, so called "representatives" in Brussels chose to ignore.

But what I find even more interesting is the question, why Dalli this time asked a mid-size snus-producer for a bribe. What happened to the pharma industry, who must have been bribing EU-politicians on this topic since the early nineties at least.

I don't see any comprehensible reason for the snus-ban, other than bribery. Which politician would ban a product, whose usablity and harmlessness is scientifically well documented (even in the EU's own SCENIHR-report from 2008), while ineffective pharmaceutical anti-smoking drugs, partly with horrible side-effects, can be purchased everywhere? Yes, only a politician who has been bribed to do so!

So, does the pharma industry no longer want to give money to the corrupt commissioners in Brussels? Have they begun to fear for their own reputation when "working toghether" with people like Dalli?


Unknown said...

I have been following it, the annoying part is that I shlepped over to Brussels as part of the consultation.... in July.
The only thing that amazed me about corruption charges against Dalli was that it didn't involve Pharma :P