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EU Lobbying: Getting to the Bottom of it



                   EU Lobbying: Getting to the Bottom of it

  PR Newswire

  BRUSSELS, February 22, 2013

BRUSSELS, February 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Confusion is not in the public interest

Japan Tobacco International (JTI) welcomes the proposal from some Members of
the European Parliament for a special inquiry into tobacco lobbying at the
European Commission (EC). " Open and transparent lobbying activities to inform
elected officials and civil servants over policy decision-making   clearly  
serve   the public interest, " said Thierry Lebeaux, Head of EU Affairs at
JTI.

The Company certainly hopes that such an inquiry would be given all ways and
means to carry out a full investigation into lobbying practices and solidly
question all lobby groups, whether from commercial or not-for-profit
organizations. In 1996 the European Parliament was the first to introduce
regulation of lobbyists leading to the adoption of a Code of Conduct. "
Despite   strengthening it over time with various measures , some elected
officials are now   under the impression   that the process is being abused, "
said Mr. Lebeaux. " We would   welcome the opportunity to   participate and
demonstrate our perfect compliance with the European Transparency Initiative
and the European Parliament ' s Code of Conduct for lobbyists, " he added.

The European Commission and the European Parliament have recognized that all
interested parties have the right to argue their case and present their point
of view to EU institutions, all in the public interest. Preventing any party
from doing so abuses the rules. Using the non-binding and wildly misapplied
guidelines on Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control as
means of excluding and censoring tobacco companies is intellectually
dishonest. As the Commission rightly underlined earlier this month, "Those
Guidelines contain no specific compulsory requirements on holding meetings or
on the publicity of such meetings."

JTI is one of several interested groups - with relevant expertise - seeking to
inform government bodies about the revision of the Tobacco Product Directive.
Elected representatives and officials should have unfettered access to the
facts, information and opinions that all of these groups can provide, even if
only to reject them. " Only   through   clarity and openness   can the EU  
achieve   sound public   polic ies   and   appropriate   regulation for   any
  industry, " concluded Mr. Lebeaux.

JTI is a member of the Japan Tobacco Group of Companies, a leading
international tobacco product manufacturer. It markets world-renowned brands
such as Winston, Mild Seven and Camel. Other global brands include Benson &
Hedges, Silk Cut, Sobranie, Glamour and LD. With headquarters in Geneva,
Switzerland, and core revenue of USD 11.8 billion in the fiscal year ended
December 31, 2012, JTI has operations in more than 120 countries and about
25,000 employees. For more information, visit http://www.jti.com

Note to Editors

The debate on lobbying is not new. In 1996 the European Parliament was the
first to introduce regulation of lobbyists leading to the adoption of a Code
of Conduct. Later in 2005 the broader European Transparency Register was
introduced. The Code of Conduct is an efficient means to regulate lobbying and
encourage ethical behavior of interest groups through clear do's and don'ts
for lobbyists when representing interests in the EU institutions. They apply
to all interested representatives, whether from commercial or not-for-profit
organizations. Breaches of the Code of Conduct can lead to various deterrent
sanctions including being blacklisted by the EU institutions.

For further information, please contact:

Guy Côté, JTI Press Office, +41-22-703-0291, jti.press.office@jti.com ;

Thierry Lebeaux, JTI EU Affairs Office, +32 26 26 2471,
thierry.lebeaux@jti.com

 
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