Directive 2007/45/EC lays down rules on nominal quantities for pre-packed products. The directive aims to remove potential obstacles to the competitiveness of EU enterprises and to facilitate their access to markets in different EU countries. As the directive liberalises pack sizes, it also promotes free circulation of products in the EU single market.
The legislation was evaluated by the Commission in July 2016 - more information
What the directive brings
The provisions of the Directive 2007/45/EC apply from 11 April 2009. From that date
- EU countries cannot prohibit or restrict the circulation of prepacked products and prepackages within the EU single market
- only EU sizes apply for wine and spirits
- national sizes were abolished for all other products
Directive 2007/45/EC repeals Council Directives 75/106/EEC and 80/232/EEC, and amends Council Directive 76/211/EEC.
See the summary of the directive on deregulation of pack sizes in different languages.
History of the rules on pack sizes
Rules on quantities in which products can be sold date back to the 1970s. Since then the legislation on consumers' protection has significantly developed. Nowadays it gives better protection than rules on quantities. The rules include
- unit pricing (Directive 98/6/EC)
- unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices (Directive 2005/29/EC)
- labelling requirements (Regulation (EU) 1169/2011)
Based on an impact assessment (261 KB) carried out in 2004, the European Commission presented a proposal for a directive abolishing national and Community rules determining sizes in which consumer products could be sold. The wine, spirits, soluble coffee and white sugar sectors were excluded from the proposal as a specific impact assessment on pack sizes in the EU (1 MB) indicated that there could be a reason to keep sizes most sold to consumers as mandatory.
The Commission presented a discussion paper followed by a public consultation that ran from November 2002 – February 2003. The consultation gathered views on maintaining existing prepackaging legislation on fixed sizes or allowing free pack sizes.
- Report on the public consultation on pack sizes in the EU (91 KB)
- Discussion paper 'Pack sizes in the EU' (273 KB)
- Executive summary (8 KB)
Views of consumers on pack sizes
- Results of Eurobarometer 113 - 'Les emballages et les ménages' (916 KB)
- Technical report: Regulation and innovation of prepackaging sizes by the Joint Research Centre and the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (680 KB)
- Judgement by the European Court of Justice of case C3/99 (prepacked liquids), October 2000
- Simpler legislation: SLIM-IV (COM (2000) 56 final-pp 9-11 & 21, 22 , February 2000
- Directive 2007/45/EC of 5 September 2007 laying down rules on nominal quantities for prepacked products, repealing Council Directives 75/106/EEC and 80/232/EEC, and amending Council Directive 76/211/EEC
- Council Directive 76/211/EEC of 20 January 1976 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making-up by weight or by volume of certain prepackaged products