Illegal sale of fine cut tobacco is on the rise in Eastern and Southeastern Europe, depriving state budgets of millions of euros in unpaid taxes and causing concern in the EU's anti-fraud office, OLAF, and the European Commission.
Plans to tackle the problem of illicit tobacco by using track and trace technologies are gathering momentum among European policymakers. But Juan Yañez warns that concerns about the type and timing of the technology need to be raised.
The EU wants to tackle counterfeit pharmaceuticals and tobacco. Tracking, tracing and authentication (TT&A) has a big role to play in this. But who should be tasked with implementing and monitoring it? Craig Stobie explains how the problem should be handled.
The recent killing of a rhino in a French zoo brought the harsh realities of wildlife crime to our doorstep, yet the EU already lies at the heart of the illegal wildlife trade. Joanna Swabe, Eleonora Panella and Daniel Turner argue that tackling wildlife trafficking must be made a priority issue.
Cigarette smuggling costs national and EU budgets more than €10 billion annually in lost public revenue and is a major source of organised crime, including terrorism, Margarete Hofmann told Euractiv in an interview.
The European Commission will focus on the new tobacco directive, as well as accords with the World Health Organisation to fight against illicit tobacco trade, following the expiration a 12-year deal with Marlboro-maker Philip Morris.
In 2011, KPMG estimated that the annual consumption of illegal cigarettes in the EU was 65.3 billion cigarettes. This was the highest ever recorded level and the fifth consecutive yearly increase. KPMG estimated the annual EU-wide tax loss due to cigarette smuggling to be approximately 11.3 billion euros.