Bondsrepubliek Duitsland tegen Europees Parlement en Raad van de Europese Unie, 13 juni 2006, Zaak C-380/03.
Het Europese verbod op tabaksreclame, zoals opgenomen in artikel 3 en 4 van de richtlijn 2003/33/EG, is in lijn met artikel 95 EG, volgens Advocaat-Generaal Philippe Léger.
De Bondsrepubliek Duitsland diende een klacht bij het Hof van Justie van de EG omdat het meende dat het Europese reclame- en sponsorverbod voor tabaksadvertenties in strijd is met het EU-verdrag. De Duitse regering betoogde onder andere dat het Parlement en de Raad met de bestreden bepaling de grenzen hebben overschreden die het Hof heeft gesteld aan de bevoegdheid van de gemeenschapswetgever. Volgens de Bondsrepubliek regelen de aangevochten bepalingen nagenoeg uitsluitend situaties zonder grensoverschrijdende elementen. Derhalve vond de Bondsrepubliek dat er geen sprake van daadwerkelijke handelsbelemmeringen was noch van aanmerkelijke verstoringen van de mededinging, waarvan opheffing een noodzakelijke feitelijke voorwaarde is voor bevoegdheid van de Gemeenschap op basis van artikel 95 EG.
Léger redeneert echter als volgt:
219. As regards Article 3(1) of the directive, first of all, the Community legislature does not appear to have exceeded the limits of its discretion by considering that the prohibition of such advertising in printed publications, including in those having essentially local, and not exclusively cross-border coverage, is liable to contribute significantly to eliminating barriers to trade and to reducing nicotine addiction.
220. Limiting the prohibition on the advertising in question solely to publications having cross-border circulation between Member States would have been contrary both to the requirements of legal certainty and to the objective of the contested directive which is to facilitate the movement of products and services in the internal market whilst ensuring a high level of protection of public health. (118)
221. In actual fact, the Community legislative had good reason to believe that limiting the prohibition laid down in Article 3(1) of the contested directive in this way would be manifestly insufficient, or would even be pointless in terms of protecting public health. Many studies conducted by official observers had already shown (before the directive was adopted) that a fragmented or piecemeal prohibition of advertising of tobacco products would have very little impact on tobacco consumption, since such a measure would inevitably mean that advertising would be transferred to other media (not subject to that prohibition) with the result that public exposure to advertising would remain high, whereas a comprehensive prohibition in the media would very probably have a significant effect on the overall level of consumption and on nicotine addiction. (119)
222. Consequently, in my view, the prohibition of advertising of tobacco products laid down in Article 3(1) of the contested directive cannot be regarded as being manifestly disproportionate.
223. The same conclusion must be drawn with regard to the prohibition of advertising of tobacco products in information society services and on the radio under Articles 3(2) and 4(1) of the directive.
224. This applies a fortiori since, as is stated in the sixth recital to that directive, these media have, by their very nature, a cross-border character and, like television, are particularly attractive to young people. Young people are a favourite target for advertisers because of their natural suggestibility and their propensity to be dependent on tobacco products for longer than older people. It follows that the prohibition on advertising of such products in these media, like the prohibition laid down in Article 13 of the TVWF directive, is not at all disproportionate. Furthermore, more specifically as regards the prohibition applying to information society services, such a measure is clearly essential in the current situation of media convergence in order to prevent the prohibition applying to printed publications and radio programmes being circumvented.
225. As regards the prohibition on sponsorship of radio programmes by operators on the market in tobacco products under Article 4(2) of the contested directive, whilst it is true that, at first sight, it might be wondered whether such a prohibition is likely to have the same effects, in terms of level of consumption of these products, as prohibitions on the advertising of the products, in my view the fact remains that the Community legislature has not exceeded the limits of its discretion by considering, as the fifth recital to that directive suggests, that the promotion of such sponsorship is the natural extension of the prohibition on the advertising in question. Furthermore, Article 17(2) of the TVWF directive (adopted before the contested directive) provides, in almost identical terms, that '[t]elevision programmes may not be sponsored by undertakings whose principal activity is the manufacture or sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products'. These provisions concerning the sponsorship of television programmes reinforce my view that the prohibition laid down in Article 4(2) of the contested directive concerning the sponsorship of radio programmes is not manifestly disproportionate.
226. Therefore, in my view, none of the prohibitions laid down in Articles 3 and 4 of that directive manifestly exceeds the limits of what is necessary in order to attain the objectives pursued by the directive with the result that the plea alleging a breach of the principle of proportionality must be rejected.
227. This conclusion cannot be called into question by the argument that, by depriving the press bodies of considerable advertising revenue, the prohibitions of the advertising in question would result in a marked reduction in editorial content and even the closure of some publishers, which would contribute to weakening significantly the pluralism of the press and, consequently, freedom of expression. Even if the measures in question were liable to result in such extreme consequences, I consider, in the light of the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, that the Community legislature has not exceeded the limits of the discretion it enjoys with regard to rules in a field as complex and fluctuating as advertising and sponsorship and responding, in the context of the creation of the internal market, to such a pressing social need as the protection of public health, at a high level.
228. I conclude that this final plea alleging a breach of the principle of proportionality must be rejected, as must the action in its entirety.
Lees de conclusie hier.