Safeguarding the internal market legal basis of the packaging and packaging Waste

More than 120 associations signed a joint statement to express their concern about the potential erosion or split of the legal basis of the Regulation on Packaging and Packaging Waste, as part of the co-decision process.

The introduction of the internal market legal basis in the 1994 PPWD was intended to address differences among the various national rules on the management of packaging and packaging waste and consequent internal market barriers, while providing a high level of environmental protection. In recent years however, the packaging value chain has witnessed an increase of unilateral and divergent national packaging requirements (e.g., packaging bans, reuse and recycled content targets, labelling requirements). These have led to internal market barriers, environmental trade-offs, losses in economies of scale, and diversion of investments and R&D. More recently, several EU Member States have also adopted national legislation on packaging and packaging waste, pre-empting the adoption of EU-wide sectoral legislation irrespective of Article 6 (3) of Directive (EU) 2015/1535 on Technical Regulations Information Systems (TRIS).

Finally, several of the provisions included in the PPWR proposal already allow Member States to maintain or introduce additional national sustainability and information requirements. Should those or other provisions be based on an environmental legal basis, the potential for harmonisation would be weakened by a patchwork of national packaging legislations, to the detriment of consumers, environmental protection and the competitiveness of European industry.

We strongly believe that the introduction of Article 192 TFEU (environmental protection) as a legal basis for some or all the Articles of the PPWR will further exacerbate the current situation, create legal uncertainty about the residual responsibilities of Member States and adversely impact the free movement of packaged goods within the EU and consequently the EU’s transition to a circular and climate-neutral economy.

With broad stakeholder support across Europe, we urge co-legislators to preserve in its entirety the internal market legal basis, which is best suited to serve the environmental and economic objectives of the proposed Regulation.

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