NEWS: Row looms for EU over Euro ad law alignment

Attempts to pull together Europe’s vast array of advertising laws look set to spark a fight between the major EU governments.

Attempts to pull together Europe’s vast array of advertising laws look

set to spark a fight between the major EU governments.



Direct marketing and the vexed question of advertising to children are

likely to become battlegrounds as countries that have imposed strict

controls try to protect them from attack by Brussels.



The new outbreak of hostilities has been heralded by the publication of

the European Commission’s Green Paper, which pledges to put an end to

unreasonable restrictions.



To achieve its aim, the Green Paper calls for the establishment of a

committee made up of ministerial representatives from each member state

which will rule on complaints by advertisers, agencies, the media and

consumer bodies against national legislation.



The move won immediate approval from Britain’s Advertising Association.

Lionel Stanbrook, the AA’s director of political issues, said: ‘The

Green Paper forces member states in effect to take a lie-detector test

when they pretend that their ad bans protect the interests of

consumers.’



Much of the controversy the plan is likely to spark involves direct

marketing. The heavy regulations in Germany are in stark contrast to far

more liberal laws elsewhere.



At the same time there will be renewed attacks on the Greek ban on toy

advertising and Sweden’s veto of all advertising directed at children.



France’s restrictions on alcohol and tobacco advertising could also come

under scrutiny as could Britain’s broadcast sponsorship laws. But moves

by the Independent Television Commission towards further liberalisation

are expected to head-off confrontation.



William King, a partner at the law firm, MacFarlanes, and a member of

the AA’s Green Paper working party, said: ‘The Green Paper is a good

start but a lot of vested interests will respond vigorously against it.

It’s important we ensure they don’t make all the running.’



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