MEP questions whether Spanish tobacco import restrictions are discriminatory

| February 4, 2013

A member of the European parliament has asked whether newly imposed limits by Spain on the import of cigarettes across the La Línea de la Concepción border with Gibraltar amount to discrimination.

In a written question to the European Commission, the English MEP, Sir Graham Watson, said that, under the rules, introduced at the start of the year, people living within a radius of 15 km of the border – residents of Campo de Gibraltar in southern Spain, who include a sizable number of British people – would be allowed to bring only 80 cigarettes per month across the border, instead of 200 cigarettes.

Citizens who resided in all other parts of Spain would continue to be allowed to cross the border with 200 cigarettes, he said in the preamble to his question.

The MEP asked whether the Commission was aware of this new restriction.

‘Whilst Article 8(2) of the directive [directive 2007/74/EC, which lays down quantitative limits for alcohol and tobacco products exempt from VAT and excise duty] allows Member States to implement lower quantitative limits on tobacco products for non-airline travellers, does the Commission consider such a limited geographical restriction, confined to residents of Campo de Gibraltar, to be:

* in line with the directive, which refers to restrictions applied to Member States as a whole?

* discriminatory against residents of Campo de Gibraltar?

* indirectly discriminatory against the sizable minority of non-Spanish EU citizens and cross-border workers in the area?’ he asked.

Category: Breaking News

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