Error in legislation: New law permitting tobacco products might not stand

In May, the Riigikogu passed a law that permitted the sale of heated tobacco products and menthol e-cigarette fluids. Now it is discovered that there might have been an error in legislation of the law and it might not hold up after all.

To assure the functionality of a common market, States of the European Union are expected to inform the Commission of any changes to technical norms, in case any of the other member states have objections to the law.

During procedure of the law in question, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications raised suspicions that the European Commision should have been informed of the law, due to there being a change in technical norms.

The Ministry of Social Affairs informed the European Commission in April and the law is now under a waiting period, during which member states and the Commission itself can object to it. The final time to state objections is set to be July 15.

The Ministry of Social Affairs also informed the Chancellery of the Riigikogu of the process in question. Despite this, Riigikogu approved the law on May 4 and president Kersti Kaljulaid announced it on May 13.

When the European Commission asked the ministry of Social Affairs for the full text of the law, it was sent with a comment stating that the law had already been passed.

In mid-May the Commission informed the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications that because the law had already been passed, no further changes to it can be made. The European Commission also asked the state to notify them of their further plans regarding the law in question. One of the proposed alternatives is scrapping the law entirely and creating a new one in its' place.

A situation where a law has passed in conflict of the European Union has not happened in Estonia before, according to the Ministry of Social Affairs. Ülle Madise, the Chancellor of Justice has also been contacted for advice on how to proceed and if there could be objections from other states.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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