01 June 1998

GERMAN LEGISLATION barring the promotional use of discounts and gifts is incompatible with European law, the European Commission has ruled. The German government is required to lodge a 'satisfactory reply' to the ruling within two months, otherwise the EC will instigate legal action to overturn the ban in the European Court of Justice. The decision will come as a relief to UK sales promoters and consultancies who feared that the German position could be adopted by the EC as the European norm. It is also a triumph for the Institute of Sales Promotion which has lobbied long and loud against adoption of the German stance. In a statement, the Commission said: 'The German legislative provisions, which date from the 1930s make it virtually impossible for a new entrant on the German market to provide direct marketing of goods and services on economically viable terms.'