EU bugs Ferrari about Philippe Morris
The ever-intrusive nannies who constitute the European Union’s bloated bureaucracy are after Ferrari. Not content to ban tobacco company sponsorship in most EU countries, the bureaucrats want to ban it in places that aren’t part of the EU and where tobacco sponsors are not illegal.
How can they do this? Simple. They claim that it violates the “spirit” of the law to broadcast the races on television from places where displaying a tobacco company’s name on the car is legal.
So, one of the EU’s top bureaucrats wrote a letter to Ferrari complaining about its Formula One team. The EU Health Commissioner, Markos Kyprianou, complained that allowing tobacco company logos and names to be displayed on Ferraris racing in China, Japan, Bahrain, and Monaco results in the names being broadcast into the EU with the race coverage from these countries. “The resulting situation is not satisfactory as it undermines the objectives of the legislation,” according to the letter. He also told Ferrari that it would be easy for a company which is so successful to get another sponsor.
Phillip Morris has been a sponsor of Ferrari’s Formula One team for many years and has a contract with Ferrari which extends through 2011.
Here’s hoping that Ferrari says something unprintable to Mr. Kyprianou.
Mr. Kyprianou’s letter, however, offers a stunning insight into the intellect of the officials in the EU who draft its laws. Apparently, they can’t express their thoughts very well. Instead of a citing a law prohibits the conduct about which he complains, Kyprianou claims that Ferrari is violating the “objective” of the law.
One would have thought that if this was the law’s objective, they’d have been able to write a law that covered it.
Philosophically, of course, Kypiranou’s position is disgraceful. He believes it is entirely appropriate for the EU’s laws to define what is and isn’t legal in some other country.
Maybe Bernie Ecclestone isn’t overpaid. He has to deal with people like Kypiranou every day.