“These amendments move us away from the Europe and the Western values!” – Nato Chkheidze
“I supported deliberately the restrictions provided by the Law on the Tobacco Control as the progressive society and all the normal and self-respecting states go in this direction, it means they impose restrictions on the tobacco industry, though it’s a legal business significantly contributing to the state budget”, - stated MP Nato Chkheidze during her speech in the Parliament after the legislative body made amendments in its first reading to the Law on "the Tobacco Control" by simplified procedure at the extraordinary session.
"The members of the parliament noted that this law is praiseworthy because it contributes to getting healthy our youth. This law has imposed a number of restrictions that can be unpleasant for the tobacco industry but it is necessary and vital not only for the population of our country but for the entire humanity", - Chkheidze said. She believes that the amendments made to the law contradict the reality of the EU countries and the declared policy of those countries concerning the tobacco control.
“The authors of the bill try through groundless and fake information to delay the implementation of such efficient means by 5 years as the plain tobacco packaging and the impossibility of the visibility of the tobacco pack. Such a bill is introduced into the Parliament of Georgia when on April 12 the Supreme Court of England rejected the joint complaint of "British American Tobacco," Imperial Tobacco, "GMT" and "Philip Morris"on the plain tobacco packaging and following a one-year review, the court considered the facts and evidence submitted by the tobacco companies to be unsatisfactory and unreliable”, - said Nato Chkheidze.
According to her, today in England, France and nine other European countries the tobacco is sold in standard, plain packaging. Only the name of the product is written on such packaging, while the rest of the place is taken by the medical alert and the pictograph.
“The Georgian Parliament is demanding to postpone plain packing for 5 years when the European Court of Justice, which is the Supreme Court of the European Justice and whose decision has never to be appealed, considered the EU directive, that was appealed by the above-mentioned multinational companies, to be legal”, - stated MP.
For reference: the EU Directive provides that the EU countries shall sell tobacco products only with standard packaging until 20 May 2020.
“The bill of our MPs incorrectly specifies and underlines that the EU countries plan to introduce such standards only from 2020 and then point to a totally incomprehensible transition period and observation. However, under the EU directive, the standard packaging process should be completed by this time, which has been confirmed by the European Court of Justice and the Supreme Court of England. To my surprise, the arguments presented in the bill are exactly the same as those of the above mentioned multinational companies stated in their complaints. Apparently, the multinational tobacco industry hopes that what could not have been achieved in the European Court of Justice and the Supreme Court of England will be achieved here in the Parliament of Georgia. If our aspiration to Europe is a declared will and not a farce, we should follow the European rules and not to become a banana republic”, - Nato Chkheidze said who was not given the opportunity to deliver a speech before the vote.
According to her, the Parliament of Georgia has to make glorious decisions: “Yes, the Parliament of Georgia should adopt the laws and the glorious decision in general, which has been announced when accepting this law and should not change it in accordance with its personal interests. Moreover, the signature of the 19 MPs on this bill is only to make an impression and I think only 15 MPs will sign it only in the solidarity with their colleagues without the access to the essence of the bill”.
Proceeding from all the above mentioned, Nato Chkheidze advised her colleagues not to support this bill that moves us away from the Europe and the Western values.