The European Parliament yesterday voted in favour of an opt-out system for unsolicited emails, thereby accepting the proposed amendments to the EU Directive on Electronic Communication and Data Privacy [WAMN: 06-Sep-01].

However, Parliament declared itself confused by an error in the drafting of the changes submitted by the European Commission’s lead Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs - and promptly bounced the proposal back to the committee for clarification.

In a press statement, FEDMA (the Federation of European Direct Marketing Associations) described the debate as “unusually slow and intense”. The Federation’s position on an opt-out solution combined with good marketing practices, claimed FEDMA, had won support from many MEPs across the political spectrum - as it had from member states' local direct marketing associations and numerous individual companies.

Cautious but scenting victory, FEDMA's director of government affairs Axel Tandberg explained: “It was essential for us to distinguish between serious direct marketing and illegal spamming throughout the opt-in/opt-out debate. We could not accept the Commission claims that opt-in is the essential tool to kill spam. Most of the spam comes from outside the EU and will not disappear with an opt-in regime within the EU. “

“The initial Parliament vote proves that we have been successful in bringing across our message to the politicians that only opt-out will create a healthy environment for interactive business and for the development of a more sophisticated and powerful anti-spam technology".

FEDMA said it will pursue its lobbying on the issue to ensure that a majority of MEPs continue to favour the opt-out solution.

News source: FEDMA