|Author (Person)||Chapman, Peter|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.24, 14.6.01, p4|
The head of European consumer association BEUC has told firms to stop "shouting their mouths off" about consumer Commissioner David Byrne's plans for a fair trade directive.
Jim Murray said firms were jumping the gun by claiming the plan - expected in a Green Paper next month - would spell the end of the single market if it became law.
Murray said: "They are wrong to shout their mouths off about the thing unheard. They should give it a chance."
Critics such as the UK's Advertising Association and direct marketing lobby FEDMA have voiced fears that different national courts would have the final say over how 'fair' should be defined.
They fear this could translate into 15 different sets of rules because member states have divergent cultures on advertising and marketing rules. It could also allow countries such as Germany to keep tough anti-competition regulations banning 'two for the price of one' offers, they fear.
However Murray said: "If they say they are against 15 sets of rules then so are we. But the one thing that the Commission is not going to do is create something with 15 sets of rules."
The BEUC director said Byrne had told him that his proposals would concentrate on ensuring "cohesion" between member states, so that differences in approach could not harm the single market.
Insiders say the definition of what constitutes 'fair' would be decided in collaboration with experts from across the EU.
Once the directive is in place, it is envisaged that firms and whole industries would be able to comply via new or existing codes of conduct or self-regulation schemes.
Murray said this would mean less, not more, interference from governments and EU authorities.
He also played down fears that it would give no direct means of redress, for example if retailers failed to live up to a promise in a code of conduct to offer a money-back guarantee.
Murray's comments come as single market chief Frits Bolkestein faces criticism from industry for handing Byrne the initiative with his fair trade plan. They say the Dutch Commissioner has blocked business-friendly proposals drawn up by his own officials to demolish national barriers to the single market in advertising and marketing.
The head of European consumer association BEUC has told firms to 'stop shouting their mouths off' about consumer Commissioner David Byrne's plans for a fair trade directive.
|Subject Categories||Business and Industry|