It’s only a few weeks since we were poring over the newly released EU medical device regulatory proposals, accompanied by a press conference at which EU commissioner John Dalli outlined the new regime. Now Mr Dalli is gone in order to defend his reputation and that of the commission.
It’s a “rum do” this. The full Reuters piece can be found here, but in essence it all relates to Sweden and those teabags full of tobacco, known as “snus”, you will see floating down the urinals of Stockholm. It seems Sweden is the only place left in Europe where these things, designed to be shoved up against your gum, from where they dispense a cocktail of carcinogens in addition to a handy nicotine hit, remain exempt from an EU ban. The country’s government, as well as manufacturer Swedish Match, would like to see the EU ban lifted, the obvious background to this case therefore being a degree of lobbying and, so it seems, name-dropping.
The EU’s anti-fraud office OLAF found that a Maltese businessman had tried to use his contacts with Commissioner John Dalli, who is also Maltese, for financial gain by offering to influence future EU legislation on these tobacco products.
“The OLAF report did not find any conclusive evidence of the direct participation of Mr Dalli but did consider that he was aware of these events,” the Commission said in a statement, saying that Dalli had resigned with immediate effect.
An interim commissioner has been appointed until a permanent replacement is found.
Not every day we cover a story like that is it?