Select Committee on European Communities Thirteenth Report


19 March 1997

  By the Select Committee appointed to consider Community proposals, whether in draft or otherwise, to obtain all necessary information about them, and to make reports on those which, in the opinion of the Committee, raise important questions of policy or principle, and on other questions to which the Committee considers that the special attention of the House should be drawn.



5217/97 (COM(96) 554) Report from the Commission to the Council on the common organisation of the market in raw tobacco

  1.    Every year the European Community spends huge sums[1] on supporting the production of a product which is harmful to health and which is of such poor quality that much of it cannot be sold within the Community but is exported at low prices to countries in North Africa and Central and Eastern Europe. The product is raw tobacco, for which producers receive on average 80 per cent of their revenue by way of subsidy.

  2.    This depressing and unsustainable scenario has been the subject of our brief enquiry, prompted by the publication of a report by the European Commission on the common organisation of the market in raw tobacco. With the constraints on time occasioned by the end of the Parliament, we have not investigated the subject as thoroughly, nor taken as much evidence, as we would have wished. But the facts speak for themselves, and we think it proper that they should be drawn to the attention of the House.

  3.    The enquiry was undertaken by members of Sub-Committee D (Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) of the European Communities Committee, as listed in Annex 1. Evidence was received as set out in Annex 2.

1   The 1997 Preliminary Draft Budget for tobacco is 1,027 million ECU (£760 million at the Budget exchange rate of 1 ECU=£0.7399). Back

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Prepared 12 April 1997