8. PROPOSAL FOR A COUNCIL REGULATION
AMENDING REGULATION (EEC) NO. 2075/92 AND FIXING THE PREMIUMS
AND GUARANTEE THRESHOLDS FOR LEAF TOBACCO BY VARIETY GROUP AND
MEMBER STATE FOR THE 1999, 2000 AND 2001 HARVESTS (12932/98)|
Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of
the Committee, to Lord Donoughue, Parliamentary Secretary (Lords),
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
At its meeting on 9 December Sub-Committee D
considered your explanatory memorandum on this recent proposal
and lifted the scrutiny reserve. As you know the Committee has
concluded that the existence of a European subsidy regime for
tobacco is nothing short of a scandal (13th report, Session 1996-97).
That view was not altered by the partial reform of the regime
earlier this year, as I made clear in my letter to you of 23 April.
Now that the Committee has considered the proposal to set the
premia and guarantee thresholds for tobacco for next three years,
it has asked me to write again expressing its deep dissatisfaction
with the situation.
The Committee regrets that the reform of the
tobacco regime could not have been carried out in the context
of Agenda 2000, so that some "equality of sacrifice"
amongst all Member States might have lead to more sweeping changes
to the regime (and indeed to the other subsidy regimes), if not
its outright abolition.
I know that on this subject the Government are
on the side of the angels, and hope that they will continue vigorously
to put forward the arguments on finance, rural development, health
and ethical issues which support a complete decoupling of aid
from tobacco production. Lady Hayman said in her statement last
Thursday on the health effect of smoking that "a Europe-wide
anti-smoking framework is in place": we hope that this will
soon be the case. We trust that you will continue to keep us informed
of any progress, and look forward to seeing a memorandum on the
next reform proposal, which is due by 2002.
14 December 1998
Letter from Lord Donoughue, Minister for
Farming and the Food Industry, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries
and Food, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee
Thank you for your letter of 14 December 1998
giving your Committee's views on the above proposal. I agree with
much of what you say. The Government will continue to argue against
the tobacco regime, and I will continue to keep you informed of
any significant developments.
31 January 1999