EU Threatens To Ditch Harmonisation of National Sales Promotion Rules

11 January 2002

Britain's Advertising Association today (Friday) condemned the decision of an EU Council of Ministers' Working Group to shelve the proposal for a Regulation that has been in preparation for the better part of four years and aims to axe national restrictions on the free movement of sales promotions across the European Union.

The proposed Sales Promotions Regulation will sweep away the general bans and restrictions applied in a number of member states, ensuring legal certainty through the application of the principle of mutual recognition. Under the proposed Regulation, services that were lawfully established in one member state could provide sales promotions freely in the other fourteen.

But earlier this week the Spanish Government, current holder of the rotating EU Presidency, pushed through a measure aimed at halting the progress of the Regulation. This U-turn, in the face of objections by the UK, also ignores the fact that the European Parliament has not yet considered the proposal.

Says AA director-general Andrew Brown: “If the Spanish Government has reservations about any aspects of the proposed Regulation then it should air these in discussions. It is completely unacceptable for the Spanish Government to use its tenure of the EU Presidency to try and arrest the development of the proposed Regulation before it has been fully considered. This should not be how democracy functions.”

The battle may have been lost but not the war, believes the AA, which welcomed assurances both from Internal Market Commissioner Bolkestein and Ward Beysen MEP (the latter charged with drafting European Parliament’s report on the proposed Regulation and leading discussions upon it once it reaches committee stage) that they do not intend to allow the proposal to be strangled.

In Churchillian mode, the AA promises that the UK advertising industry will continue to lobby both at home and at a European level to ensure a fair and democratic hearing for the proposal.

News source: Advertising Association (UK)