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Tuesday, 3 September 2002 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Sales promotions in the internal market

  Montfort (NI ).(FR) Mr President, every freedom is based on a balance. Economic freedom is based on a balance between the interests of consumers and that of entrepreneurs and distributors. This freedom will certainly be lost if we establish an inequality that will benefit one or another party. This is what the Commission has quite simply attempted to do under the misleading pretext, once again, of forced harmonisation.

By attempting to remove restrictions on sales promotions put in place by the Member States, the Commission is removing the essential safeguards that the national legislations had put in place in order to protect both the interests of consumers, of small producers and retailers. Dangerous and irresponsible commercial practices would come about from resale below cost or the deregulation of sale periods and conditions, and our economies would eventually suffer. Furthermore, the changeover to the euro should not serve as an excuse to increase prices.

Therefore, I can only welcome the amendments which were adopted in the various parliamentary committees that were involved in this text and which continue to observe national legislation in this respect. Downward harmonisation, which is what the Commission appears to desire, runs counter to common sense and to healthy business for economic players, and in particular for the most fragile players. Local businesses and small businesses are the driving force behind our economy. I think it is necessary to emphasise this and to reiterate that, without them, the diversity of supply and the guarantee of quality would disappear. However, they also play a role in providing a social and economic balance in our society. Be careful not to disrupt this balance, this would not be in anyone’s interest, not in our capacity as consumers, nor in our capacity as politicians.

Last updated: 27 July 2004Legal notice