Associated Press Wire

Oct 5, 10:00 AM EDT

EU criticized for keeping tobacco lobby meetings under wraps

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BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union's transparency watchdog has criticized the EU Commission for failing to fully disclose information about its dealing with tobacco lobbies.

Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly said in a statement Monday that the Commission's way of publicizing meetings with the lobbyists had been "inadequate, unreliable and unsatisfactory."

She said the Commission often only made public information about such meetings in response to official requests for documents or questions from EU lawmakers.

O'Reilly said the Commission was not fully respecting U.N. health guidelines on transparency and tobacco lobbying. She urged it to publish the minutes of meetings with tobacco lobbyists or their legal representatives online in future.

In 2012, an EU health commissioner resigned after an associate was accused of asking for money from a Swedish company to influence tobacco legislation.

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