ANALYSIS: BIG QUESTION; Will the EC Green Paper on communications help or hinder PR?

The EC is planning to de-regulate commercial communications within the EU

The EC is planning to de-regulate commercial communications within the


Leigh Mendelsohn PRCA

‘I think the threat from the Green Paper is that Brussels doesn’t

understand PR as it is practised in the UK. It lumps PR in with sales

promotion and other distinct disciplines, which may require tougher

legislation. The opportunity we have is to educate Brussels to the fact

that PR has its own separate requirements and that there cannot be a

single route for commercial communications. But as the Green Paper

stands right now, I’d say it’s more of a threat.’

Tony Burgess-Webb Hill and Knowlton

‘I see the Green Paper as a major opportunity for PR companies and other

marketing services companies. For a company like Hill and Knowlton, this

kind of measure represents a double-win opportunity: it will encourage

more trans-border trade but it won’t affect the need for a high degree

of sensitivity to the different cultural contexts.’

Peter Waterman Hasbro UK’

‘It is clearly an opportunity - without question. At the worst it would

do nothing more than leave the status quo as it is. Moreover, the EC has

made it clear that it wants contributions from member states. I would

agree that the PR industry in this country has failed to make its

concerns plain to the EC, and in that sense it is a missed opportunity.

However, there’s still a window of opportunity to get rectification -

provided the critics are able to define very clearly what is wrong with

the proposed legislation.’

Dominic Lyle Countrywide Porter Novelli

‘We tend to be a bit stand-offish about Brussels and to wait until it’s

too late before doing anything. It’s true that the PR industry is more

developed in the UK than in other European countries but although PR may

be done differently abroad, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s done any

worse. The bottom line is that if you are a committed European you

should believe de facto in initiatives like this and you should make

sure you are intimately involved in the rule-making process.’

Stephen Whitehead IDV

‘There is very little directly in the Green Paper on PR but if we view

PR as a part of the communications mix we are affected. For example

alcohol sponsorship of sport in France is banned, so above or below the

line activity simply does not happen. The Green Paper is the beginning

of a process that will evaluate such restrictions as either ‘fair or

unfair’ within the internal markets. It should be welcomed as a positive


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in