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    The Commission hits back, but the key questions remain unanswered

    Alastair Cohen
    Alastair Cohen
    July 5, 2024
    3 min read
    Download Source FilesDownload Source Files

    This morning, the Commission got back to Mari Eccles of Politico, and “hit back” at our claims that they tried to bury the most recent Eurobarometer on tobacco and nicotine, saying they put the survey on the website as they normally do.

    But the most important question still remains pointedly unanswered: why did the Commission release the survey on the Monday after a Council debate on the subject, instead of ahead of the debate when Ministers and the Commissioner could have referred to it? Did they not think it was relevant to the discussion in Council?

    Politico also “fact checked” our implication that not posting about the survey on X was an anomaly, and found that the Commission does tweet about more surveys than it doesn’t. Does this show that not tweeting about the survey isn’t unusual?

    A better test of this might be to look at how the Commission’s health department, DG SANTE, and Eurobarometer reacted to the last such survey, in February 2021.

    Remember February 2021? Most of Europe was locked away at home thanks to a pandemic. It wasn’t like there was a lack of public health news for the institution to talk about.

    And yet, when we checked the archives, there they are. Two tweets, one from Eurobarometer and another from DG SANTE, publicising the results of the 2021 tobacco Eurobarometer.

    Perhaps this was an anomaly? Ah wait. Nope. Eurobarometer also tweeted about the 2017 version of its tobacco survey.

    This is a fun game, but the real question remains. Why wasn’t the survey released in time for Ministers to be able to use it in their debate on European tobacco policy?

    Perhaps the Commission might like to come back on that one.

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