Member states of the European Union will be required to introduce a uniform set of sales promotion rules, if a regulation proposed by the European Commission on Tuesday becomes law.

The EC aims to harmonise and tighten sales promotion rules across the EU. At present, companies marketing products across the continent are faced with a barrage of conflicting legislation – for example, Belgian law forbids price reductions of more than 33% (preventing two-for-the-price-of-one offers), while France restricts alcoholic drinks promotions.

Uniformity of legislation, argues the EC, is needed to meet the challenges posed by the launch of the euro currency on January 1, the introduction of the E-commerce Directive and the expansion of the EU into Eastern Europe, which will require a level playing field for new members.

The EC also claims the current situation inhibits the EU’s imports and exports, restricts competition and hinders the operations of multinational companies.

The proposed legislation must be discussed by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament before it can become law. The EC would not say how long this process would take, although negotiations over similar proposals have taken two years or more to complete.

News source: AdAge Global