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No 9 (October 97/Octobre 97/Oktober 97)
On 15th July the European Parliament voted on and adopted a Resolution prepared by Ms Jessica Larive MEP on the Green Paper on Commercial Communications. The Resolution gives broad support for the proposals made in the Green Paper whilst refining and adding to them in a number of ways. The opinion of the Parliament(1) on the key proposals made in the Green Paper can be summarised as follows.
On the issue of the proposed proportionality assessment methodology, the Parliament fully supports the Internal Market regulatory approach and stresses the importance of applying both the country of origin principle and the proposed proportionality assessment procedure to address restrictions to cross-border services in this field. It argues that it is only through country of origin control and harmonising where necessary (i.e. where restrictions are proportional) that effective consumer protection and consumer confidence in the Internal Market can be achieved. The Parliament expects the follow-up Communication establishing the use of the proportionality assessment methodology to be more forceful than the original proposal. In particular it wishes the methodology to be mandatory for all decisions on both existing and new regulatory proposals.
On the proposed committee of Member States representatives, it calls for this to be as open as possible and raises the possibility of the establishment of a tripartite committee with Member States representatives, consumer bodies and industry representatives. It wishes the Committee to (I) be obliged to use the proportionality assessment methodology in examining problem areas, (ii) respect tight deadlines and (iii) publish its findings. The Parliament intends to monitor development in this field in that it expects to receive periodic reports from the Commission of work in progress in the committee.
On the proposed contact point and communications network, the Parliament is again supportive but insists that the information network must be open to all interested parties and that the contact point should operate a data bank with Community and national legislation in the area of commercial communications including self-regulatory codes.
In addition the Parliament calls the Commission to:
The resolution strongly supports cross-border self-regulatory complaint systems and calls the Commission together with industry and consumer bodies to improve these. It encourages national self-regulatory bodies to include within their codes the principle of country of origin control.
The Commission is currently drafting a Communication which will analyse how these calls for action can be realised. The Communication will also account for the views of those 400 interested parties from all areas who responded to the Green Paper. It is hoped that the Communication will be adopted by the Commission later this year.
DG XV/ E-5
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(1) This has been reprinted in full in the latest edition of the Commercial Communications magazine together with the view of the German Minister of Justice. Copies of this magazine can be obtained by contacting its editor Mr M. Sainsbury in the UK (Fax 00 44 1273 772727) and specifying your postal details and language version you would prefer (the magazine is published in English, French and German).