Ireland has completed transposition into national law of the EU's 1994 packaging and packaging waste directive, the environment ministry has announced. The directive's "essential requirements" relating to the design, manufacture and marketing of packaging have been made binding in Ireland through a regulation issued yesterday. Ireland transposed most other aspects of the directive into national law last year (ENDS Daily 16 June 1997). Its continuing failure to include rules to transpose the directive's essential requirements two years after the deadline for full transposition of the law led the European Commission to launch a court action against Ireland this summer (ENDS Daily 3 July). A packaging industry official told ENDS daily today that most EU countries have still not developed monitoring systems to check that materials meet the requirements stated. They are waiting for the emergence of harmonised European standards on packaging, expected from the standards body CEN next year, he said. Without harmonised standards the terms of the essential requirements are "somewhat vague," he added. This lack of certainty has been used by Denmark to justify its ban on metal drinks cans, which is under legal attack from the EU (ENDS Daily 7 October). Following Ireland's move, Belgium, Greece and Luxembourg are the only remaining EU countries which have not transposed the essential requirements from the packaging directive into national law.
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