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
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
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
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."