Although the European Commission acknowledges that prices are efficient levers for reducing tobacco consumption, the Commission has, through reasoned opinions, called upon Austria, Ireland and Italy to amend their legislation setting minimum retail selling prices for cigarettes. Minimum prices breach Community legislation and distort competition by limiting the freedom of producers and importers to determine their selling prices. To reduce tobacco consumption, the Commission instead recommends that Member States increase excise duties. Unless the three Member States respond satisfactorily to the reasoned opinions within two months, the Commission may bring the cases before the European Court of Justice.
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Internal market: minimum resale prices up in smoke
- McDermott Will & Emery
- Morten Nissen
- Austria, European Union, Ireland, Italy
- July 6 2007
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