Sweden ready to go to “war” over EU snus export

Unlike in any of the other Scandinavian countries, snus is a very popular form of tobacco use in Sweden. 12% of the Swedes love the smell of snus.

Ewa Björling, the Swedish minister for commerce, has said Sweden is ready for a full-scale “war” against the EU over Swedish snus future.

Björling has already been meeting with the new Health Commissioner Tonio Borg twice in less than a week in Brussels, trying to make the Maltese commissioner change his attitude about Swedish snus.

The sale of snus is illegal in the European Union, but due to exemptions, it is still manufactured and consumed primarily in Norway and Sweden. In the upcoming draft tobacco law, the Commission wants to keep the ban on snus export to other EU countries.

It was the Swedish tobacco producer Swedish Match that made a complaint about Borg’s predecessor John Dalli in October to the European Anti-fraud Office, OLAF.

An unnamed Maltese entrepreneur approached Swedish Match using his contacts with Dalli, and seeking payments in exchange for influence over possible snus legislation, the new EU’s Tobacco Products Directive expected during autumn 2012. This eventually led to Dalli’s resignation.

According to an estimate by the Swedish Retail Institute, a backtracked export ban could lead to around eight million new snus users in Europe, and the possibility of large Swedish export revenues.

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