European Publishers Council


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Francisco Pinto Balsemão
Chairman, EPC
Chairman and CEO,
Impresa S.G.P.S.
Rua Ribeiro Sanches 65
1200 Lisboa
Tel: +351 21 392 9782
Fax: +351 21 392 9788
Angela Mills Wade
Executive Director
c/o Europe Analytica
26 Avenue Livingstone
Bte 3
B-1000 Brussels
Tel: +322 231 1299
Press Relations
Heidi Lambert Communications
Tel:  +44 1245 476 265
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Response to the consultation on the communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on European contract law (October 2001)


The European Publishers' Council (EPC) is a high level group of Chairmen and Chief Executives of 28 leading European media corporations whose interests span newspaper, magazine, online database and Internet publishing; many members of the EPC also have significant interests in private television and radio broadcasting companies. A list of members is attached.

The members of the European Publishers' Council welcome the Commission's initiative to open a debate and to consider the various options regarding contract law as more and more companies operate across borders.

Having considered the European Commission's options, the EPC supports Option 1: i.e. to leave the solution of any identified problems to the market. We are not aware of any evidence to show that market solutions have failed thus far or interfered in any way with the efficient functioning of the internal market. Any additional requirements for contracting parties, whether in law or in the form of non-binding recommendations would, we believe, interfere with the freedom to contract. The EPC welcomes the fact that the Communication recognises the fundamental principle of freedom to contract. The EPC believes it is essential to preserve this principle to ensure that parties are free to negotiate and agree upon contract terms.

There is already a significant body of European Community Law which has been adopted in the area of consumer protection. Some of this has yet to be implemented or assessed in the light of incorporation into national law. Several new consumer protection and internal market proposals are either expected or currently under negotiation. It is our opinion, therefore, that it would be premature to act; the EPC would strongly oppose Option 4: To adopt a new instrument at EC level and Option 2: To promote the development of non-binding common contract law principles.

In the event that the European Commission decided nevertheless to proceed with further work in this area, the EPC would ask that a comprehensive analysis be undertaken of existing contract law provisions in European Community and national instruments, accompanied by clear justification for further European intervention in this field.

The EPC would be pleased to contribute to any future review and analysis of contract law and hereby requests prior consultation on the scope of any such review. The current Communication is very broad in its scope yet imprecise as to whether or not it would cover contracts for intellectual property rights. This is an area of significant importance to media companies. It is also an extremely complex and sensitive area requiring the utmost care and consideration.

In summary the EPC feels any further action by the European Commission is premature and that a market-based solution based on the freedom to contract would serve the interests of both business and consumers alike.


Members of the European Publishers Council:

Chairman: Mr Francisco Balsemao, Chairman and CEO, Impresa, Portugal Hon.
President: Sir Frank Rogers, Telegraph Group Ltd., UK

Mr Kjell Aamot, CEO, Schibsted, Norway
Mr David Bell, Chairman, Financial Times Group, UK
Mr. Jose-Maria Bergareche, Chief Executive, Grupo Correo, Spain
Mr Carl-Johan Bonnier, Chairman, The Bonnier Group, Sweden
Mr Oscar Bronner, Publisher & Editor in Chief, Der Standard, Austria
Dr Hubert Burda, Chairman and CEO, Burda Media, Germany
Dr Carlo Caracciolo, President, Editoriale L'Espresso, Italy
Mr Luis Cebrian, Chief Executive, Grupo Prisa, Spain
Mr Daniel Colson, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive, Telegraph Group Ltd, UK
Mr Crispin Davis, Chief Executive, Reed Elsevier,
Mr August A Fischer, Chief Executive, Axel Springer Verlag, Germany
Mr Tom Glocer, Chief Executive, Reuters plc
Mr Philip Graf, Chief Executive, Trinity Mirror plc, UK
Mr Leslie Hinton, Executive Chairman, News International, UK
Mr Steffen Kragh, President and CEO, The Egmont Group, Denmark
Mr Bernd Kundrun, Chief Executive, Gruner + Jahr, Germany
Mr Christos Lambrakis, Chairman & Editor in Chief, Lambrakis Publishing Group, Greece
Mr. Gaetano Mele, Rizzoli Corriere della Sera, Italy
Mr Gavin O'Reilly, Chief Executive, Independent Newspapers PLC, Ireland
Mr Jaakko Rauramo, Chairman and CEO, SanomaWSOY Corporation, Finland
Mr Gerald de Roquemaurel, Chairman and CEO, Hachette Filipacchi Medias, France
Mr Michael Ringier, President, Ringier, Switzerland
The Rt. Hon. The Viscount Rothermere, Chairman, Daily Mail and General Trust, UK
Mr Antoine de Tarle, Chief Executive, Societe Ouest-France S.A., France
Mr. R.F. Van den Bergh, Chairman, VNU, Netherlands
Mr Christian van Thillo, Chief Executive, De Persgroep, Belgium
Mr Gaston Thorn, President, Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Telediffusion, Luxembourg


12 October 2023


For further information please contact the Executive Director, Angela C Mills, on Tel: +44 (0)1865 310 732 or Fax: +44 (0)1865 310 739.


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