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Table 2 WHO Guidelines for Implementation of Article 5.3 of the FCTC (abridgeda): European Commission and European Parliament Implementation

From: European Union implementation of Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

General Recommendations Specific Recommendations Commission Parliament b
Raise awareness about the addictive and harmful nature of tobacco products and about tobacco industry interference with Parties’ tobacco control policies. 1.1 Parties should inform and educate all branches of government and the public about the addictive and harmful nature of tobacco products, the need to protect public health policies for tobacco control from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry and the strategies and tactics used by the tobacco industry to interfere with the setting and implementation of public health policies with respect to tobacco control. Not met.
Little evidence of awareness raising among officials about the need to protect policies from industry interference, especially outside of DG Sanco (DG Santé).
Not met.
Very low awareness among MEPs of the need to protect public policies from industry interference.
1.2 Parties should, in addition, raise awareness about the tobacco industry’s practice of using individuals, front groups and affiliated organizations to act, openly or covertly, on their behalf or to take action to further the interests of the tobacco industry. Not met.
No evidence of awareness raising about the use of third parties by the industry.
Not met.
No evidence of awareness raising about the use of third parties by the industry.
Establish measures to limit interactions with the tobacco industry and ensure the transparency of those interactions that occur. 2.1 Parties should interact with the tobacco industry only when and to the extent strictly necessary to enable them to effectively regulate the tobacco industry and tobacco products. Not met.
Officials do not uniformly limit their interactions with the industry.
Not met.
MEPs do not uniformly limit their interactions with the industry.
2.2 Where interactions with the tobacco industry are necessary, Parties should ensure that such interactions are conducted transparently. Whenever possible, interactions should be conducted in public, for example through public hearings, public notice of interactions, and disclosure of records of such interactions to the public. Partially met.
DG Sanco publishes minutes of meetings that do take place with the industry, but other DGs do not.
Commissioners, members of their Cabinets and Directors General meet only with organisations that are on the Transparency Register and publish details of such meetings, but this does not extend to more junior officials.
Regulation 1049/2001 allows access to some information by the public, but places the burden on the public rather than the Commission and may provide partial (redacted) information.
Not met.
MEPs do not uniformly record their interactions with the industry. The current voluntary Transparency Register explicitly recognizes MEPs’ freedom of mandate and the associated right to meet third parties.
Regulation 1049/2001 allows access to some information by the public, but places the burden on the public rather than the institution and may provide partial (redacted) information.
Avoid conflicts of interest for government officials and employees. 4.1 Parties should mandate a policy on the disclosure and management of conflicts of interest that applies to all persons involved in setting and implementing public health policies with respect to tobacco control, including government officials, employees, consultants and contractors. Met by general regulations and guidelines, including the Staff Regulations and the Code of Conduct for Commissioners, although these are not specific to tobacco. Met in part by the Code of Conduct for MEPs with Respect to Financial Interest and Conflicts of Interest, although this is not tobacco specific.
4.2 Parties should formulate, adopt and implement a code of conduct for public officials, prescribing the standards with which they should comply in their dealings with the tobacco industry. Met by general regulations and guidelines, including the Staff Regulations and the Code of Conduct for Commissioners, although these are not specific to tobacco. Met in part by the Code of Conduct for MEPs with Respect to Financial Interests and Conflicts of Interest. However, this covers only financial COI and is not tobacco specific.
4.3 Parties should not award contracts for carrying out any work related to setting and implementing public health policies with respect to tobacco control to candidates or tenderers who have conflicts of interest with established tobacco control policies. No data. No data.
4.4 Parties should develop clear policies that require public office holders who have or have had a role in setting and implementing public health policies with respect to tobacco control to inform their institutions about any intention to engage in an occupational activity within the tobacco industry, whether gainful or not, within a specified period of time after leaving service. Met by general regulations and guidelines, including the Staff Regulations and the Code of Conduct for Commissioners, although these are not specific to tobacco. Met in part by the Code of Conduct for MEPs with Respect to Financial Interests and Conflicts of Interest, but there are no restrictions on subsequent employment during a “cooling off” period.
4.5 Parties should develop clear policies that require applicants for public office positions which have a role in setting and implementing public health policies with respect to tobacco control to declare any current or previous occupational activity with any tobacco industry whether gainful or not. Met by general regulations and guidelines, including the Staff Regulations, although these are not specific to tobacco. Met in part by the Code of Conduct for MEPs with Respect to Financial Interests and Conflicts of Interest, although this is not tobacco specific
4.6 Parties should require government officials to declare and divest themselves of direct interests in the tobacco industry. Partially met by general regulations and guidelines, including the Code of Conduct for Commissioners, although these are not specific to tobacco. Met in part by the Code of Conduct for MEPs with Respect to Financial Interests and Conflicts of Interest but this is not tobacco specific and no explicit reference is made to divestment.
4.7 Government institutions and their bodies should not have any financial interest in the tobacco industry, unless they are responsible for managing a Party’s ownership interest in a State-owned tobacco industry. No data. No data.
4.8 Parties should not allow any person employed by the tobacco industry or any entity working to further its interests to be a member of any government body, committee or advisory group that sets or implements tobacco control or public health policy. Partially met by general measures in place to mitigate conflicts of interest in the appointment of external expert groups, but these are not tobacco specific. No data beyond this. Partially met through general provisions in the Code of Conduct for MEPs with Respect to Financial Interests and Conflicts of Interest, but not tobacco specific. No data beyond this.
4.9 Parties should not nominate any person employed by the tobacco industry or any entity working to further its interests to serve on delegations to meetings of the Conference of the Parties, its subsidiary bodies or any other bodies established pursuant to decisions of the Conference of the Parties. No relevant data identified in relation to this. No formal policy on this identified. N/A
4.10 Parties should not allow any official or employee of government or of any semi/quasi-governmental body to accept payments, gifts or services, monetary or in-kind, from the tobacco industry. Partially met by general regulations and guidelines, including the Staff Regulations and the Code of Conduct for Commissioners, although these are not specific to tobacco. Met in part by the Code of Conduct for MEPs with Respect to Financial Interest and Conflicts of Interest, although this is not specific to tobacco.
4.11 Taking into account national law and constitutional principles, Parties should have effective measures to prohibit contributions from the tobacco industry or any entity working to further its interests to political parties, candidates or campaigns, or to require full disclosure of such contributions N/A Met in part by the Code of Conduct for MEPs with Respect to Financial Interest and Conflicts of Interest. A full appraisal would require analysis of national political parties and campaigns, as well as at the EU level.
Require that information provided by the tobacco industry be transparent and accurate. 5.1 Parties should introduce and apply measures to ensure that all operations and activities of the tobacco industry are transparent. Partially met through transparency initiatives but these are not comprehensive or tobacco specific. Partially met through transparency initiatives but these are not comprehensive or tobacco specific.
5.2 Parties should require the tobacco industry and those working to further its interests to periodically submit information on tobacco production, manufacture, market share, marketing expenditures, revenues and any other activity, including lobbying, philanthropy, political contributions and all other activities not prohibited or not yet prohibited under Article 13 of the Convention. Partially met by the transparency register in relation to lobbying, but not comprehensive and not tobacco specific. Partially met by the transparency register in relation to lobbying, but not comprehensive and not tobacco specific.
5.3 Parties should require rules for the disclosure or registration of the tobacco industry entities, affiliated organizations and individuals acting on their behalf, including lobbyists. Partially met by the transparency register in relation to lobbying, but not comprehensive and not tobacco specific. Partially met by the transparency register in relation to lobbying, but not comprehensive and not tobacco specific.
5.4 Parties should impose mandatory penalties on the tobacco industry in case of the provision of false or misleading information in accordance with national law. No relevant data identified. No relevant data identified.
5.5 Parties should adopt and implement effective legislative, executive, administrative and other measures to ensure public access to a wide range of information on tobacco industry activities as relevant to the objectives of the convention, such as in a public repository. Partially met by Regulation 1049/2001 on access to information by the public, including meetings with officials, but places the burden on the public rather than the Commission and may provide partial (redacted) information. Partially met by Regulation 1049/2001 on access to information by the public, but places the burden on the public and may provide partial (redacted) information.
  1. aAs with the article more generally, this table focusses on certain guidelines which are most relevant to the focus of our analysis. Guidelines 3.1–3.4, 6.1–6.4, 7.1–7.3 and 8.1–8.3 are thus excluded from the table. Where there is an absence of relevant data to evaluate compliance with a guideline we state this. Similarly, where relevant guidelines cannot be applied to a supranational entity such as the EU (versus a state actor), or cannot be applied for any other reason, we mark these ‘not applicable’ (N/A)
  2. b Analysis of the European Parliament here is limited to MEPs, as opposed to permanent officials in the Parliament Secretariat