The EU’s Competitiveness Council yesterday (25 September) reached a political agreement to simplify the legislation governing packaged foods. If the European Parliament adopts the draft legislation, manufacturers will be allowed to market free sizes for pre-packed products, except wines and spirits. 

The move is in line with the Commission’s aim to streamline EU legislation under the Better Regulation initiative. If the legislation passes, twenty-five national regulations will be replaced with two EU directives, the EC said.

Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, said: “I am delighted that the Council has reached political agreement on a piece of legislation which has become a symbol of the Better Regulation initiative…. This proposal is a small but necessary step to change the image of the EU as an over-regulating busy-body. It sends a clear and positive signal that the European Union is serious about cutting red tape.”

The EC said that the legislation will broaden consumer choice, while labelling, unit pricing and rules on unfair practices will assure consumer protection.