In an otherwise appalling article at Presseurop (plain packs are law in Ireland; John Dalli 'accepted money' from Big Tobacco; the EU 'David' to 100 lobbyists' 'Goliath' etc), there are some glorious quotes from Czech politicians about the EU Tobacco Products Directive.
“It’s just another attempt from Brussels to regulate the market,” says Jaroslav Kubera, head of the Civic Democrat (ODS) senators’ group, repeating the arguments that he used to get the entire leadership of the party club onside to reject the European proposal. “Today it’s smoking, next we’ll have to prohibit greasy food or driving a car. We have to stand up against it and to defend freedom.”
In the Assembly of the Committee on European Affairs, Kubera’s party colleagues even pushed for the so-called “yellow card” against the tobacco directive, which is an exceptional diplomatic method of submitting a formal complaint against Brussels for overstepping its powers and forcing it to reconsider a law.
For now, not even the pro-European left promises change. “I don’t see it as something to wage political battle over,” says Jeroným Tejc, leader of the ČSSD [Czech Social Democratic Party] parliamentary group. “The issue doesn't resonate with the party, and even though I'm a non-smoker, I respect the views of colleagues who have a different take on smoking.”Stay strong, Prague. We love ya'.