The European Commission decided in mid-February to launch an infringement procedure against France (INFR(2022)4028). In a letter of formal notice to France, the Commission argues that the labelling requirements with instructions on waste sorting are not compatible with the European internal market.
In order to be placed on the French market, household products belonging to an extended producer responsibility (EPR) system must be labelled with the "Triman logo", an indication that the product is subject to Sporting requirements, and the "Infotri", an indication of sorting procedures.
The Brussels authority sees this requirement as an unnecessary restriction of trade in the European internal market. The provision of waste sorting instructions to consumers is not currently regulated by harmonised EU rules. However, national legislation adopted in this area should not unnecessarily burden trade in the internal market. The imposition of national labelling requirements might be contrary to the principle of the free movement of goods. The EU Commission also stresses the possible negative impact on the environment: such measures could also lead to an increased need for materials for additional labelling and thus to additional waste generation if the packaging were made larger than necessary.
The French authorities do not seem to have sufficiently assessed the proportionality of their policy choice, as other appropriate options are available that are less restrictive of trade between Member States, the Commission says. France also disregarded the notification obligation under the 2nd Internal Market Transparency Directive (Directive (EU) 2015/1535), as the law was not notified to the Commission at the draft stage. France now has two months to address the concerns raised by the Commission.