CAMPAIGNS: Lobbying - Art levy fight taken to the very summit

Client: The British Art Market Federation (BAMF)

Public Affairs Team: GJW Brussels andGJW London

Campaign: To quash European Commission plans to impose an artists'

re-sale right in the UK

Timescale: Five years

Budget: Circa pounds 150,000

The artists' re-sale right is effectively a royalty fee that would be

paid to artists each time works are sold. The BAMF has been fighting the

legislation, saying it would be a disincentive to art dealers from

selling their works in London, Europe's largest art market. The levy

currently exists in most EU countries.


To kill or substantially reduce the legislation's impact on the British

art market.

Strategy and Plan

GJW had to gain the political backing of the UK government and to form

an alliance of EU governments. This involved complex lobbying.

BAMF chairman Anthony Browne had talks with UK government departments,

ministries of foreign governments, the international press and the

European Commission and Parliament. A campaign was targeted specifically

at the Brussels press.

A poster campaign was launched in English and German, listing 75 artists

who backed the cause. Tony Blair made phonecalls to President Chirac and

Chancellor Schroeder, among others, impressing upon them the 'vital

national interest' at stake.

Measurement and Evaluation

GJW had to keep adapting its strategies according to the shifting

positions of EU members.

Through the turbulent legislative process and more than a dozen

different votes of the European Commission and Parliament, the damaging

elements of the levy were systematically whittled away.


Eventually, the UK government took the unprecedented step of wielding

the veto for the first time on a single market issue. Originally

scheduled to come in to force in January 1999, a much-diluted version of

the levy will come into being in January 2006, with full implementation

delayed until 2012.

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