The Swedish social-democratic governing coalition re-elected in September has pledged to ban all TV advertising to children under 12 throughout Europe when it takes on its six-month presidency of the EU in 2001. The pledge has received wide support in Sweden, where TV advertising to children has never been allowed, but Europe’s advertisers doubt the proposed ban will receive enough support from other EU members to pass. ‘Sweden can set the tone of voice and it can definitely set the agendas to be discussed,’ says Stig Carlson, director-general of the European Association of Advertising Agencies, ‘but it cannot force the parliament-we still have a democracy in Europe.’
Carlson adds that his primary European concern right now is the fact that Greece has proposed legislation which will either totally ban or set severe restrictions on advertising to children if it’s passed into law. The proposal is currently being debated in parliament.