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Brussels, 30 March 2007

Tobacco taxation: Commission launches public consultation

The European Commission is launching an online consultation seeking views from stakeholders on the current EU tax legislation on tobacco and possible changes. EU rules on tobacco must guarantee the proper functioning of the Internal Market while at the same time be in line with the EU objective to discourage tobacco consumption. Existing rules should be modernised, be more transparent and simple. The consultation is of interest to all stakeholders, in particular, businesses involved in the manufacturing and distribution of tobacco products, health organisations, government administrations, non governmental organisations and other organisations representing consumers. The Commission will take into account those opinions and views in its legislative proposal to come at the end of this year. Comments are invited by 1 June 2007.

"I am going to make a legislative proposal on tobacco taxation at the end of this year. Recent discussions with business and Member States indicate that there is a need for modernisation and simplification", said László Kovács, Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union. "When making a new proposal on tobacco taxation, we must ensure the proper functioning of the Internal Market and at the same time respect other Community policies, in particular health protection. I therefore want to launch a debate as broad as possible"


Under the Tobacco Excise Directives the Commission is required to examine every four years, the smooth operation of the single market, the real value of excise-duty rates and the wider objectives of the Treaty. Although excise duty is primarily an instrument for generating revenue at national level, policy-making in this area has to take the wider objectives of the Treaty into account. Given the characteristics of manufactured tobacco products, this examination needs to pay particular attention to health policy considerations, taking stock of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, recently agreed within the World Health Organisation. In addition, priority should also be given to questions of simplification and transparency of the structure of excise duties on cigarettes as well as the options to bring the structure of excise duties for fine-cut smoking tobacco into line with the structure of excise duties for cigarettes.
For further background information on tobacco taxation see:

Online consultation: Consultations - Get involved!

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