EU "to drop packaging case" against Germany

UK industry calls on Commission to act against "unfair" law rather than close infringement file

The European Commission looks set to drop a long-running case against Germany in which it had warned that its national packaging law was at odds with the EU internal market. According to the UK packaging trade association, Incpen, the Commission's environment directorate will move to close the case when senior advisors to commissioners meet on Thursday to review infringement cases. Incpen claims that Germany's law, which sets a 72% quota for refillable drinks packaging favours local companies at the expense of those in other member states.

In 1995 the Commission issued a formal notice, or warning letter, to Germany which was followed in 1998 by another. The German authorities responded and the Commission has since be studying the response. A Commission spokesperson told ENDS Daily that the case was on the agenda for the 27 January meeting but his understanding was that no "decision in substance" would be taken. Rather the case was likely to be postponed once again.

At the end of last year, a German court ruled in favour of an Austrian drinks company which had taken the German Government to court claiming that its refillable beverage container quota violated European law (ENDS Daily 3 December 1999.

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 299 1111; Incpen, tel: +44 20 74 09 09 49.

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