Croatia is facing a European Commission penalty if parliament fails to amend by May 20 the law on tobacco products, aligning it with the European Union Tobacco Products Directive.
EU member states have until May 20 to align national laws with the 2014 Directive.
Since the amendments have not even been discussed by the government, we cannot meet the deadline, Croatian member of the European Parliament Biljana Borzan (SDP/S&D) told Hina on Monday, adding that Croatia will probably be penalised for every day after the deadline. She said all other member states had aligned their legislation, except Spain.
The Health Ministry says it did its part of the job, including drawing up the bill of amendments. It did not respond to Hina's query as to what happened afterwards and if the bill might be adopted by May 20.
Borzan said this was a "dangerous symptom of a non-functioning government" and that she was appalled by Assistant Health Minister Ivan Bekavac's claim that Croatia would ask for a deadline extension. She said the deadline was incorporated into the Directive and that changing it was out of the question.
She said that at this moment nobody could say exactly how Croatia would be penalised but that it certainly would because there was no objective excuse for the fact that the ruling coalition did not get along and parliament had no quorum. She said the penalty could be serious because this was about a public health matter.
Hungary was recently fined for failing to align a law with an EU directive, having to pay EUR 15,000 for every day after the deadline.
Former Health Minister Sinisa Varga too believes Croatia will be reprimanded and penalised.
The EU Tobacco Products Directive stipulates, among other things, that health warnings must cover 65% of tobacco packages.