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Sarkozy: I will relax wine advertising regulations

Right-wing French presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy has announced that he will give more freedom to wine advertising in France should he be elected in May.

According to news agency Reuteurs, Sarkozy, currently French interior minister, told a group of winegrowers in Sancerre that he would allow advertising to show wine consumption as long as it was ‘reasonable’.

His pledge counters the strict 1991 Evin law which regulates tobacco and alcohol advertising. In its current form, the law prohibits any incitement to buy or drink wine, any appearance of wine advertising on television or in cinemas and strictly regulates what can be said or portrayed in other advertising.

Both the Bordeaux and Burgundy wine trade associations have found advertising campaigns blocked after health associations and ministers claimed they were in breach of the law.

However, Sarkozy’s proposal to relax the stance on wine advertising follows recent moves in the French government in which ministers have attempted to reduce the scope and power of the Evin law.

Two years ago, ministers voted in favour of allowing smell, taste and colour to be discussed in adverts. Sarkozy, who is a teetotal, said the matter was one of national pride and competition.

‘Wine is not just an economic activity, it’s a French tradition, a French identity, a French know-how,’ he told the winemakers. ‘We cannot ask you to be competitive when others have the right to use advertising and you don’t.’

Sarkozy also said he wanted to see a more ‘balanced’ way sharing the wealth between wine producers and distributors.

‘By continuing to wring out prices, the winemaker is no longer going to be paid for his hard work,’ he said.

He did not say how this would be achieved.

The presidential candidate also said he would remain firm on the strict drink-driving laws in France – a policy he is responsible for bringing in, and one that has been cited as one of the main factors contributing to falling wine consumption in the country.

Sarkozy said his policy had saved 10,000 lives and 100,000 injuries.

Written by Oliver Styles

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