French MPs vote to amend restrictions on alcohol ads

Jean Pierre Muller, AFP

Lawmakers on Wednesday voted in favour of changing France’s so-called Evin Law, which restricts advertising for alcoholic beverages and tobacco, despite calls from the government to leave the law untouched.


Members of France’s National Assembly adopted the amendment sponsored by Gérard César, a senator from the Les Républicains (former UMP) party, who is also a wine-grower.

Under the 1991 Evin Law, no alcohol advertising is allowed on television or in cinemas, and all alcoholic ads must include a message stating that abuse of alcohol is dangerous to one’s health.

Moreover, the law bans alcohol companies from sponsoring cultural or sporting events.

Supporters of the amendment say the law hinders economic development and threatens France’s “ancestral wine tradition”.

Socialist MP Gilles Savary said the proposed changes to the Evin Law would help protect journalists, filmmakers or writers who evoke or make reference to “our wine products” in their work.

The amendment was added to a controversial economic reform, known as the Macron Law, which has also come under fierce scrutiny and must still pass parliament.

President François Hollande’s Socialist Party (PS) enjoys a majority in France’s lower house, but the conservative senator’s amendment found support among many MPs representing wine-growing regions.

Among those backing changes to the Evin Law – named after former health minister Claude Evin – is the National Assembly’s viticulture group, led by Socialist MP and wine-grower Catherine Quéré.

Health Minister Marisol Touraine this week urged MPs not to adopt the amendment, arguing that an economic reform law should not be exploited to “unravel public health laws”.

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