Commission v France C-262/02: ECJ 13 Jul 2004

The court was concerned with a national measure prohibiting television advertising for alcoholic drinks, in the case of indirect television advertising resulting from the appearance on screen of advertisements visible during the re-transmission of certain sporting events. This was said to infringe the freedom to provide services contrary to Article 59 (now 49) of the Treaty. Relevant restrictions are again capable of justification under Article 56 and 66. The Court observed: ‘In that context, it is for the member States to decide on the degree of protection which they wish to afford to public health and on the way in which that protection is to be achieved. They may do so, however, only within the limits set by the Treaty and must, in particular, observe the principle of proportionality . . which requires that the measures adopted be appropriate to secure the attainment of the objective which they pursue and not to go beyond what is necessary in order to attain it.’ Having found that the measure constituted a relevant restriction the Court held that the rules pursued an objective relating to the protection of public health and were appropriate to secure that aim, going no further than necessary to achieve such an objective. It was said that, ‘They limit the situation in which hoardings advertising alcoholic beverages may be seen on television and are therefore likely to restrict the broadcasting of such advertising, thus reducing the occasions on which television viewers might be encouraged to consume alcoholic beverages.’ Meeting an argument that the French rules were inconsistent , ‘ . . since they apply only to alcoholic beverages whose alcohol content exceeds 1.2%, concerns only television advertising, and do not apply to advertising for tobacco.’ The Court said, ‘ . . it is significant to reply that that option lies within the discretion of the Member states to decide on the degree of protection which they wish to afford to public health and as the way in which that protection is to be achieved . . .’
[2004] ECR I-6569, [2004] EUECJ C-262/02
Cited by:
CitedBritish American Tobacco UK Ltd and Others, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Health Admn 5-Nov-2004
The claimants challenged the validity of regulations restricting cigarette advertisements, saying that greater exceptions should have been allowed, and that the regulations infringed their commercial right of free speech.
Held: The Regulations . .

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Updated: 13 January 2021; Ref: scu.199454