- The European Union's plans to ban tobacco advertising in Europe have run into opposition following the verdict of two committees of Euro MPs, which have declared the moves illegal.
One committee, the European Parliament's legal affairs committee, voted 12 to seven to throw the proposal out. It concluded that there was no legal basis for an advertising tobacco ban. The decision was repeated by the economic and monetary committee.
The two committees supported the case of the tobacco lobby, which argued that the directive proposed in December by the Council of Ministers could not be pushed through as a single market health or internal trade measure. Directives from the Council of Ministers are usually final.
The move also adds weight to Germany's opposition to the ban. Germany has already said it will challenge the directive in the European Court of Justice.
The directive if passed would see most tobacco advertising end in four years, with sponsorship to follow in five.
The directive will next go to a vote of the European Parliament in May. If it is overturned, Europe will face its first constitutional crisis.