AA urges Brussels to rethink Greek ban on toy advertising

The Advertising Association has slammed the European Commission’s decision to throw out a complaint against the Greek ban on toy advertising.

The toy manufacturers’ European trade body, Toy Industries of Europe (TIE), complained to the European Union about the ban more than four years ago. TIE claimed it infringed terms in the Treaty of Rome which provides for the free movement of goods and services between member states.

The AA asserts that the ban is an unlawful barrier to cross-border trade in the single European market, and has resulted in toy manufacturers losing about 40 per cent of turnover in Greece.

But the majority of the outgoing European Commission voted to dismiss complaints about the ban last week, one month before most of them are to be replaced. Leon Brittan and Neil Kinnock were among the minority who voted for the investigation to continue.

The commission claimed that the ban was “proportionate” and not an excessive measure in preventing the exposure of children to commercial pressure.

AA deputy director-general Lionel Stanbrook says: “Within days of the new commission formally taking office, [the AA] will ask it to review its decision.”

The EU also indicated that other complaints lodged by TIE will not be pursued. The trade body was also protesting against a total ban on TV advertising to children in Sweden, a ban on advertising five minutes before and after children’s programmes in Belgium, and a ban during pre-school programming in Ireland.

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