§ Lord Mason of Barnsley
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will list the EC countries which subsidise their tobacco industries, what method is adopted and whether any EC country has established a state monopoly resulting in unfair price competition contrary to the free market principles of the EC.
§ The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Hesketh):
I am not aware of subsidies specifically made available by other member states to their tobacco industries, though the tobacco industry might be eligible to participate in the EC approved general aid schemes of member states. I understand that France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal exercise a form of state monopoly control over pricing of tobacco products. Whether those practices infringe the provisions of the EC Treaty is a matter for the European Commission. I am not aware that the Commission is presently investigating any complaints about those practices.