On 16th October, EU Commissioner Dalli handed his resignation after he was informed that an the EU anti-fraud body (OLAF) investigated and found that he was aware that one of his contacts was offering his service to arrange meetings between Swedish Match and himself.
Swedish Match, a Stockholm-based firm which produces snus, a chewing tobacco sent an official complaint to the European Commission in May 2012. It protested that a “Maltese entrepreneur” had asked it for money in return for using “his contacts” with Dalli to influence an upcoming EU ban on snus exports, in the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).
Malta will nominate a new Commissioner to hold the post until the 2014 elections and in the interim, the Commissioner for Internal Affairs will handle Commissioner’s Dalli former portfolio.
The revised TPD is the the piece of legislation ECC and other organisations working on risk factors were awaiting to try and limit taking up smoking, help people stop smoking and reduce damages to public health in general, from tobacco. The release of TPD has been postponed for many months and is now unlikely to happen in 2013, as the European Commission indicated that the legislative process for TPD is on hold until the new Health Commissioner is in place.
Commissioner Dalli denied he resigned and that he did any wrong-doings. He also shared with the press the evidence that it was the organisation representing smoke-free tobacco, the European Smokeless Tobacco Council (ESTOC) who initiated contact with a Maltese businessman Silvio Zammit, in a bid to set up an informal meeting with former European Commissioner John Dalli.
The Smoke Free Partnership, an ECC sister oganisation issued a press release on 16 October that denounced tactics from the tobacco industry to block, amend and delay the release of TPD.