British Advertisers Fight 'Made in EU' Labelling

21 January 2004

A group of British marketers has vowed to fight European Union proposals for a 'Made in the EU' mark on product labelling.

The Walpole Group -- a body of over 100 big-name brands including Harrods, British Airways and the Savoy Group -- is campaigning against the EU scheme, which could threaten marks of national origin.

The European Commission is currently drawing up plans for the EU labels after requests from some member states. Initial proposals could be published as soon as March.

However, advertisers in Britain and Germany have spoken out against the scheme, which would see 'Made in the EU' marks alongside or possibly in place of labels indicating national origin.

The Walpole Group argues that a single EU mark runs counter to increasing consumer demand for better information of where a product has come from and how it has been made.

Advertisers are also worried the scheme will impose extra costs on industry and potentially devalue brands. Walpole Group chairman Rupert Hambro called the plans "tantamount to expropriating the rights of manufacturers to use their national origin marks, which are sometimes part of the DNA of the brand".

Hambro believes the scheme should not be mandatory. "This way the manufacturer could choose to display either the national origin mark or the EU label," he continued.

However, EU trade spokeswoman Arancha Gonzalez argued that, although industry costs may go up, a single mark had clear benefits. "Among the advantages we see are promoting a mark of distinction, improving the visibility of the European Union, giving adequate information to consumers and fighting consumer deception," she said.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff