After a long battle to retain the ban on televised alcohol marketing, it looks like Norway will have to drop the ban shortly now that the European Commission has gotten involved. The Norse government recently received a letter from European Commission’s Vice-President, Neelie Kroes stating that they have no choice but to adopt the new European Union TV Directive (AVMSD).

Norwegian news website the Foreigner quotes foreign Minister Erik Lahnstein in reaction to the letter: “The EU says it is consideration for the internal market that weighs heaviest, not Norwegian public health arguments. This puts the government in a difficult situation.”

The problem for Norway and the EU lies in international competition. Norway can ban alcohol marketing from national broadcasts without a problem. The problem is caused by international broadcasts containing alcohol marketing. According to the EU, Norway may still continue its comprehensive alcohol advertising ban, if they can come to an agreement with the countries that are transmitting alcohol advertising. In the case of Norway they would predominantly have to deal with Great Britain. However, Minister Lahnstein fears this may lead to anti-competition lawsuits from private actors.

“There is a risk they will take Norway to the EFTA Court if one starts limiting the possibility of operating from a foreign country. We have a situation changing from one of 100 percent robust protection, to one of how effectively we can guard against alcohol adverts on TV,” said Lahnstein.

Source: The Foreigner (08/18/11)

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