AIM, the European Brands Association, and other key industry associations of the packaging value chain have come together under the Packaging Chain Forum to voice their common concerns about the integrity of the Single Market for packaging and packaged goods.
Alongside some recent developments at the EU level, we observe a worrying trend of divergent national provisions. The risk is further erosion of the fundamental principles of the Single Market and the undermining of the EU sustainability goals for a climate neutral, circular and competitive European economy.
The Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan 2.0 intend to create the conditions for the EU industry to lead the transformation towards a sustainable economy. Rigorous implementation and enforcement of the Single Market principles are key to ensure harmonised legal requirements facilitating economies of scale, long-term investments and strengthening the business case for innovative products and technologies. This is not only a precondition for the free movements of packaged goods and packaging materials across the EU, but it is essential to strengthen the implementation of packaging and packaging waste targets in all Member States and to encourage the development of fully integrated EU markets for secondary raw materials.
Clearly defined and harmonised EU provisions are the necessary first step to avoid the adoption of diverging and disproportionate national measures, which result in overly restrictive national requirements and EU market fragmentation. However, core elements of EU provisions on packaging (e.g. definitions, scope, criteria to impose restrictions or grant exemptions) are often ambiguous and insufficiently defined in the main body of EU legislation and they must be further clarified through the lengthy adoption of non-binding Commission guidelines (e.g. EU guidelines on EPR fees modulation and SUP product definitions). As well as jeopardising the EU Green Deal’s ambitions, this negatively impacts legal certainty, the effective enforcement of environmental targets and the free movement of packaging and packaged goods. Core provisions should instead be clearly enshrined in the main EU legislative text or in its implementing acts.
Secondly, when implementing and transposing EU law on packaging and packaged goods, national legislators must ensure compliance with the Single Market principles and with article 18 of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD). Our longstanding concerns are especially relevant today, in the context of the upcoming review of the PPWD as well as the transposition and implementation of the revised Waste Framework Directive (WFD), the PPWD, the Single-Use Plastics Directive (SUP) and of other EU packaging policies.
The further erosion of the Single Market for packaging and packaged goods can and must be prevented through joint commitments and actions by the European Commission and the Member States.
We call on Member States to:
We call on the European Commission to: