Forest EU

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In May 2017, the tobacco industry front group, Forest, officially launched its Brussels office, entitled Forest EU, which has its own designated website, http://www.Forestonline.eu. The group is also running its own Facebook page and Twitter account (@ForestEU)

Background

Director

Forest EU’s Director is Guillaume Périgois. According to Simon Clark, the Director of Forest in the UK, Périgois “was formerly publishing director of Contrepoints, the largest classical liberal news website in France, and deputy director of New Direction”, which Clark labels the “the foundation for European reform”. Prior to that “he worked with trade associations, companies and think tanks.” [1]

Everjust Public Relations

As of June 2017, Périgois’ Twitter account still depicted him as “Senior adviser @Contrepoints, Director of Everjust.eu”. The contact details and address for Everjust public relations in Brussels was the same as for Forest EU. [2][3]

Relationship with the Tobacco Industry

Funding from Japan Tobacco International (JTI)

According to Simon Clark, the Forest EU website “gives the exact figure our Brussels operation is getting from JTI in 2017.”[4]. On the Forest EU website it states: “Forest EU is supported by Japan Tobacco International (JTI). Our annual budget is €150,000”.[5]

This suggests that Forest EU is 100 per cent funded by JTI. Despite this, Forest EU, like its parent organisation, Forest, argues that it is not a front for the tobacco industry; “Forest EU has an independent organizational structure and represents the consumer, not the tobacco industry,” it says on its website [6]

Pro-Smoking Lobbying of the European Union

Forest EU’s objectives include to “counteract the ‘denormalisation’ of tobacco” and “to prevent further restrictions on the purchase and consumption of tobacco”.[7] It hopes to achieve this is by lobbying politicians and regulators. Some quarter of Forest’s budget will be on lobbying-related activities. According to Forest EU’s entry into the official European Commission lobbying register for 2017, “Forest EU's 2017 budget is €150,000. We estimate that the costs attributable to activities covered by the Register will represent €37,500 or 1/4 of our annual budget.”[7]

TobaccoTactics Resources

Relevant Link

Notes

  1. S. Clark, Meet Guillaume Périgois, our new man in Brussels, Taking Liberties blog, 27 March 2017, accessed June 2017
  2. Everjust website, Website, accessed June 2017
  3. Forest EU, About, Website, accessed June 2017
  4. S. Clark, Police and Criminals, Taking Liberties Blog, 31 May 2017, accessed June 2017
  5. Forest EU, About, Website, accessed June 2017
  6. Forest EU, About, Website, accessed June 2017
  7. 7.0 7.1 European Commission Transparency, Forest Entry to the Register, accessed June 2017