The European Union Tobacco Products Directive, which envisages bigger warnings about the dangers of smoking on cigarette packets, went into force on Friday but a majority of the member states, including Croatia, have still not entered it into their legislations.
A two-year deadline which the member states had to enter the Directive into national legislations expired today. Only four member states started applying the Directive in its entirety, four are applying it in part, while the rest are in the process of incorporating it, some of which have notified the European Commission that they are late in doing so because they want to pass laws which are even stricter than the Directive.
The Directive is an EU legislative act not applied directly in the member states. It defines an objective, leaving it up to them to decide how they will achieve that objective.
Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said he was notified by Croatia that it would pass a law stricter than the Directive. What is good is that we have heard from Croatia that it will adopt stricter measures than what our Directive proposes and we encourage the member states in that direction, he said.
The Commission said it would not rush with launching proceedings against those countries which had still not incorporated the Directive because it wanted to see the reasons for the delays. The road between the launching of the proceedings and penalties for not incorporating the Directive is very long and the proceedings are suspended as soon as the member state in question aligns its legislation with the Directive.