EU to take Germany to court over packaging law
BRUSSELS - The European Commission said yesterday it would take Germany to the European Court of Justice to force it to change a packaging waste law it argues discriminates against foreign mineral water producers.
"The European Commission...considers the German packaging regulation 1998 (Verpackungsverordnung 1998) does not comply with the (EU) packaging waste directive and Community rules on free trade," the European Union executive said.
The 1998 law exempts mineral water bottles from a recycling charge if 72 percent of packaging is returned to producers for re-use
. This forces foreign firms to bring back empty bottles over long distances for refilling, putting them at a competitive disadvantage, the Commission said.
"We consider that the German rules do not take proper account of the environmental costs of sending containers of natural mineral waters over long distances for re-use," European Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom said in a statement.
"They are a barrier to trade without environmental justification, and I urge the German authorities to change them in an environmentally appropriate way," she added.
Most mineral water in Germany is sold in re-usable glass bottles. The German government in January proposed imposing a deposit charge on "ecologically damaging packaging" such as plastic bottles.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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