Greece/Bulgaria - governments opposed to WHO's attempt to ban blended tobacco..

November 21, 2010 - Tobacco producing countries are opposed to the World Health Organisation's attempts to push through a ban of ingredients used in producing blended tobacco. At present there is no alternative crop that will provide the same income as that from growing tobacco.

For example, Turkey - like other tobacco growing countries worried that WHO will eliminate blended tobacco..

The guidelines (Article 9/10 guidelines) that apply along with others were to be discussed at the WHO FCTC - 4th session on Tobacco Control - Uruguay 15 Nov 2010 to 20 Nov 2010..

Bulgaria and Greece are to start a common agricultural advertising campaign, Bulgarian Agricultural Minister Miroslav Naydenov and his Greek counterpart Kostas Skandalidis revealed. Skandalidis and Naydenov decisively opposed the World Health Organization's (WHO) determination to restrict the production of oriental tobacco.

This type of tobacco is much much sought after across the world and both Bulgaria and Greece produce it, they declared.

"Romania may also be included in the common campaign," Minister Naydenov added.

Greece is going to help Bulgaria to achieve recognition for its Rakia grape brandy as a traditional Bulgarian alcoholic beverage, using its experience with Ouzo.

The two Ministers arranged a high-profile meeting in Athens December 7, with the probable participation of their colleagues from Romania and Cyprus. During that meeting, topics connected to the implementation of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) from 2013 onwards will be discussed.

Thirteen EU member countries produce tobacco – with a few regions in Italy, Greece, Spain and Bulgaria being particularly active. The 27-member EU currently produces +/- 250,000 tons of raw tobacco annually, making it the world's fifth largest producer after China, the US, India and Brazil. EU production represents 5% of worldwide production. Italy is the biggest EU producer (36% of the 27 EU member countries' total production), followed by Poland (16%), Bulgaria (12%) and Spain (12%). (Agricultural markets: Raw tobacco)

Reference: Bulgaria, Greece to Launch Joint Agricultural Advertising Campaign, (Sofia News Agency), 11/18/2010.