Brussels, 2 July 2007
The Commission acknowledges that prices and tax measures are efficient levers for reducing tobacco consumption. However, they must conform to obligations arising from Community law.
In this respect, the Court of Justice of the European Communities has already ruled that:
The Commission fully supports the Member States' taking anti-smoking measures to guarantee a high level of public health protection.
With this in mind, the Commission in particular recommends, as possible measures, higher excise duties and minimum taxes to help reduce cigarette consumption. These measures have the same effects on prices as setting minimum prices but do not reduce price-based competition to the sole benefit of manufacturers by protecting their profit margins.
Belgium has complied with the Commission's opinion and has amended its legislation to bring it into line with Community law (see IP/07/373). This has made it possible to increase State budget revenue and to achieve a dissuasive increase in the price of tobacco.
The dossier reference numbers are as follows: 2006/2288 (Austria), 2006/2083 (Ireland) and 2005/2107 (Italy).
For the latest information on infringement proceedings see:
For further information on current legislation regarding tobacco products
 Supplementary reasoned opinion in the case of Ireland.