Belgian Public Health Minister Maggie De Block (Open Vld) wants to ban menthol tobacco before the European deadline for 2020, but runs up against the European Commission, which threatens to sue Belgium if it persists. In any case, this is what our colleagues from La Libre.
In 2014, the European Union has decided to ban tobacco containing a particular characterizing aroma", With an exemption if Union-wide sales volume represents 3% or more in a product category. In this case, the prohibition will only come into effect on the 20 May 2020.
The Minister of Public Health has prepared a draft royal decree translating the European directive into Belgian law, without taking into account the exemption granted to menthol tobacco. " The protection of health, especially that of young people, justifies applying this measure as quickly as possible" , valued Mrs. De Block.
Unexpectedly, however, the European Commission has sent the Belgian government an opinion threatening to attack it in the EU Court of Justice if it does not review its copy. The EU executive recalls that the text of the directive states that the abolition of flavored tobacco " should extend over an extended period, giving consumers the time to switch to other products".
The European Commission is now awaiting information on Belgian intentions, but De Block confirms the desire to ban menthol ahead of 2020's European deadline while analyzing the Commission's opinion. The steps taken by the European executive already postpone the adoption of the decree by six months.