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JUNE 28, 2006

Germany caves in on tobacco

The German government has accepted that it must implement a European Union directive banning the advertising and promotion of tobacco. Horst Seehofer, the minister involved, said that the legal action against the ban had been begun by the previous German government, which was voted out of office at the end of last year. That legal action continues but it is less to do with tobacco than the principles involved as Germany believes that the law undermines German sovereignty.

The European Court of Justice will consider whether or not the legal basis of the directive is correct but Germany is unlikley to win on this occasion and so the Germans have started the process of drawing up a bill to go before the Reichstag.

This will mean the end of tobacco branding at Hockenheim and the Nurburgring - a move which will cost both circuits considerable money because of clauses that exist in their contracts with the Formula One group. It could also mean the end of two German races.