Sweden's controversial proposed ban on alcohol advertising was overturned yesterday by the European Court of Justice, dealing a body blow to anti-alcohol campaigners across the continent.

The ban, which was due to come into force three years hence, was challenged by Gourmet magazine. The court upheld the magazine’s argument that the ban contravened the European Union’s founding treaty, being an obstacle to the free movement of services across the EU.

According to the European Commission, the court’s ruling is important because it recognises advertising as a service. Following the judgement, the Commission is drafting proposals to reduce restrictions on sales promotions imposed by individual member states; for example Germany, which prohibits the advertising of lifelong guarantees.

News source: Financial Times