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EU Commission sues Denmark for not outlawing snus sales

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission took Denmark to court on Thursday for allowing the sale of snus, despite a European Union sales ban on the moist oral snuff.

Sweden, a snus producer, is currently the only country in the 28-member bloc permitted to sell the powder tobacco, a privilege granted when it joined the club in the 1990s.

The Commission, the EU's executive body, said it took legal action after Denmark ignored a warning two years ago to bring its legislation in line with those in the 28-country bloc.

"Until now, Denmark has not notified any such measures to the Commission and continues to be in breach of EU law. For this reason, the Commission has decided to refer the case to the CJEU," the Commission said, referring to Europe's highest court in Luxembourg.

Judges are expected to rule on the case in coming months.

Snus played a part in the 2012 ousting of former EU Health Commissioner John Dalli, after one of his associates was accused of asking money from tobacco company Swedish Match in return for lifting a sales ban on the product outside Sweden.

Dalli has rejected the charges and has challenged Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in court.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by David Holmes)

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