Brewers call on EU for fair packaging rules

Europe’s brewers are advocating for equality in the PPWR highlighting concerns of discrimination in the rules

Europe’s brewers are urging the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission to consider their concerns before heading into the proceedings on the PPWR (Photo by freestocks.org via Pexels)

The European Union has been urged to improve its Planned Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), following the agreement by ministers at the EU’s Environment Council on a “general approach” to the negotiations.

While the Environment Council agreed by qualified majority to a negotiating mandate, the legislation can still be changed to ensure a level playing field when it comes to alcoholic drinks packaging. Beer is being subjected to targets on reuse and deposit return system rules while other sectors like wines and spirits are exempt.

In the open session at the council, Poland and Slovakia explicitly called for a level playing field under Article 26, with Slovakia pointing to the discriminatory treatment of beer. Others, like the Netherlands, called for fairness in the legislation, while Austria spoke out against further exemptions and Belgium said beers should be exempted in the same way as wine.  

Europe’s brewers urge the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission to consider these concerns as they head into the proceedings on the PPWR. The lack of a level playing field is discriminatory and, as currently written, the rules do not align with ECJ rulings and the EU’s Single Market basics of fair treatment amongst competing products, such as beer and wine.

Simon Spillane, head of operations, The Brewers of Europe, said: “If the packaging legislation is to be fair and effective it needs a level playing field when it comes to reuse targets and deposit return systems,” he said. “If this is not addressed, then brewers will be the only major alcoholic drink sector facing these extra demands and costs. That would be an egregious discrimination: the exemptions should be dropped completely or applied to all. That is why we hope the final text will deliver a fair and legally consistent rulebook.”

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