Federal public health minister Maggie De Block has reached an agreement with the drinks industry to bring in new advertising rules for alcoholic drinks, with potential fines running to a maximum of 10,000 euros. De Block has announced an agreement between the government and the federation of Belgian brewers, the drinks industry group Vinum et Spiritus and the Advertising Industry Council. Beginning on 2 September this year, the public health ministry will be consulted over any complaint made regarding advertising of alcoholic drinks. The aim is to give the interests of public health more of a say in advertising decisions.
In addition, all advertisements for alcohol must first be cleared by the jury for ethical advertising practices, which normally only steps in later when a complaint is made. For companies who repeatedly fail to abide by the rules, fines can go up as high as 10,000 euros.
“The irresponsible use of alcohol can have negative effects on health,” De Block said. “That is something alcohol producers absolutely need to take into account when creating advertisements.”
Rules on the advertisement of alcoholic drinks must not be directed at young people, or encourage over-consumption. The protection of minors is a major concern of the rules, which were officially adopted by the government and industry in 2005, and extended in 2013.