Europe-wide moves to ban tobacco advertising could be thrown into
chaos if a major legal challenge to them is successful.
As the European Court of Justice began hearings in Luxembourg this
Wednesday into a claim that the European Union’s proposed ban is
illegal, the UK Government faces the massive embarrassment of having to
redraft its legislation should the judges’ ruling go the wrong way.
But if they reject the German government’s complaint that the EU’s
Tobacco Advertising Directive is unlawful, industry lobbyists fear the
EU will have carte-blanche to ban the advertising of almost any product
Lionel Stanbrook, the Advertising Association’s deputy director-general,
said: ’Such a privilege should not be in its hands.’
Germany claims the directive is invalid because it was adopted as a
single-market measure needing only the support of the majority of
members to become EU law.
German ministers argue that the directive is a public health measure
which can only be introduced across the EU after a unanimous vote by all
Industry pressure groups have long claimed that, in its haste to reduce
the number of smoking-related deaths throughout the Continent, the EU
has acted illegally.
Stanbrook said: ’Germany is insisting that the EU plays by the rules.
But, if the EU gets away with it, a precedent will be set that will have
The European Court is due to rule in the autumn on the validity of the
EU ban, which is due to be phased in from the end of July next year.