The European Commission has decided to take France to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for fixing minimum retail prices for cigarettes. The Commission takes the view, based on well-established case law, that such minimum prices (i) infringe Article 9(1) of Directive 95/59/EC on taxes other than turnover taxes which affect the consumption of manufactured tobacco, (ii) distort competition by limiting the freedom of producers and importers to determine their selling prices, and (iii) are of benefit only to manufacturers, by safeguarding their profit margins. Based on earlier case law, the Commission’s theory is that limitations on tobacco consumption should be implemented through levying excise duties and not through price control. It has also decided to close infringement proceeding against Belgium, since the latter has now brought its legislation into line in accordance with the Commission’s official request of 4 July 2006.