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EU-Belarus co-operation: Can it help in fighting illicit trade?


EU-Belarus co-operation: Can it help in fighting illicit trade?

The illicit tobacco trade, representing 10.4% of the global cigarette market, is becoming an increasingly important issue with severe overall repercussions on finance, taxation, public health and international security. According to the KPMG SUN Report, a large proportion of the illicit cigarettes consumed in Europe is originating from Eastern Europe, including Belarus.

However, 2016 witnessed promising improvements in cooperation between the EU and Belarus in tackling this common problem. The EU lifted most sanctions against Belarus and is now pushing forward a number of measures to boost economic ties with Minsk, including ratification of the FCTC Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Product and other specific engagements aimed at controlling the supply chain. The time is now ripe to bring cooperation a step further.

EURACTIV organised a workshop to go beyond an analysis of the problems and look at concrete solutions on how to tackle illicit tobacco trade. Questions included:
- What should the EU do to improve its approach to fighting illicit tobacco trade?
- What are the main constraints in coordinating efforts with non-EU countries? How to overcome them?
- Can cooperation between the EU and Belarus become a model to apply to other countries in the Neighbourhood?
- How can Track & Trace systems contribute to this?

An article on this topic published following the debate is available here

Supported by:


Euractiv Network Office
Boulevard Charlemagne 1, 1041 Brussels

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Dmitry Yarmoliuk, Counsellor, Mission of the Republic of Belarus to the EU
Joseph Chetcuti, Director General Customs Department, Ministry for Finance of the Republic of Malta
Tomáš Zdechovský MEP, Member of CONT and LIBE Committees, European Parliament
Laima Liucija Andrikiené MEP, Member of INTA Committee, European Parliament
Dirk Schübel, Head of Division, Eastern Partnership Bilateral, EEAS
Howard Pugh, Senior Specialist, European Serious Organised Crime Centre, Focal Point Smoke, Europol
Nick Hodsman, Associate Director and SUN Report Project Manager, KPM


12.00 – 12.30 Registration and networking lunch
12.30 – 13.00 Opening statements
13.00 – 14.00 Open debate and Q&A

Highlights video