Industry bid to stop EU advertising law plans

Representatives of the UK ad industry have called for an urgent

meeting with European Commission chiefs amid fears that proposed laws

could outlaw campaigns in some EU countries even though they are legal

in others.



They believe the Commission's plans will jeopardise the established

practice whereby advertising that conforms to the laws of the country

where it was produced can run across all EU member states.



Now a Commission consultation document on the harmonisation of consumer

protection within the EU threatens to end the so-called "country of

origin" concession, exposing advertisers to a mass of different

laws.



The Advertising Association is so alarmed by the implications that it

has asked for a meeting next month with Carina Tornblom, the Commission

official who drafted the document.



AA executives claim the proposal will seriously undermine efforts to

create a fully functioning internal market by stifling competition.



They warn that companies will be deterred from promoting their goods and

services in many parts of Europe, with internet advertisers being

particularly badly hit.



According to the AA, the Commission's initiative flies in the face of

the "country of origin" policy enshrined in the EU broadcast directive,

TV Without Frontiers.



Advertising lobbyists fear any change would allow countries such as

Sweden, which bans TV advertising to children, to take legal action

against satellite broadcasters beaming in programmes from beyond its

borders.



The Commission's Green Paper aims to streamline the advertising and

marketing laws and the uncertainty consumers feel about their rights

when they shop abroad.



But Sara Soltani, the AA's director of public affairs, said: "This Green

Paper will do more to destroy the internal market than anything else."



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