Compromise on French wine ads up for debate

17th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 17 (AFP) - Controversial proposals to ease restrictions on advertising for wine return before the French parliament Tuesday, with the government pushing for a compromise wording to satisfy the competing demands of producers and anti-alcohol campaigners.

PARIS, Jan 17 (AFP) - Controversial proposals to ease restrictions on advertising for wine return before the French parliament Tuesday, with the government pushing for a compromise wording to satisfy the competing demands of producers and anti-alcohol campaigners.

In October the National Assembly caused outrage when it passed an amendment to a rural affairs bill which would grant France's hard-pressed wine-growers an exemption from provisions contained in the 1991 Evin law on publicity for alcoholic drinks.

Hurt by accusations that it was ignoring its own target to cut alcohol abuse, the government has tabled a new formula which it hopes will allow wine-makers greater scope to advertise without breaking the spirit of the original law.

Under its proposal - which will be debated from Tuesday by the upper house or Senate - wines can be promoted with "references relative to their areas of production," and also with "references relative to their colour and characteristics of smell and taste."

The compromise has won the support of the National Association for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Addiction (ANPAA), which believes that the danger of unrestricted advertising using images of sexuality and party-going has been removed.

"However the ANPAA will continue to be on the lookout for the representation of persons inviting consumption, and will check that a precise and immediately recognisable link exists between the elements in the publicity and the product for which it is made," the association said.

Health Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy denied that the new wording represents an "easing of the Evin Law ... The government does not want the text to contain any breach of public health."

French wine-growers are suffering from their worst crisis in decades, caused by growing competition from new producer countries and declining domestic consumption. Pushing for greater freedom to advertise, they argue that wine is part of French culture rather than a mere alcoholic commodity.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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