France subject to a European commission infringement procedure regarding its Triman logo labelling requirements
On 15 February 2023, the European Commission (“EC”) sent a letter of formal notice to the Government of France and opened an infringement procedure (prelitigation phase) against it, concerning potential violation by the French Labelling Regulation of EU law and in particular of the free movement of goods principle.
The AGEC Law of 10 February 2020 introduced requirements that certain products / packages sold on the market to consumers and subject to the extended producer responsibility obligations be labelled with the Triman logo and sorting information.
However, the EC considers that the French government enacted disproportionate labelling requirements. The EC argues that less restrictive measures are available for trade between Member States and that the French Labelling Regulation may even generate increased needs for materials, to satisfy the additional labelling requirements, and greater waste production due to the increased size of packages.
In addition, the EC blames France for not having notified to the EC the AGEC law at the draft stage, whereas Directive (EU) 2015/1535 requires Member States to communicate any draft bill before its enactment.
During this prelitigation phase, France now has two months to respond to the formal notice letter of the European Commission. If France fails to do so, the Commission may send a "reasoned opinion" in which it will describe the alleged infringement in fact and on the merits and will require France to comply with EU law within a specified period. If France fails to respond, the Commission may refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
The infringement procedure does not affect the French Labelling Regulation, which currently remains fully applicable. Therefore, operators are still subject to the current French labelling requirements (Article L. 541-9-3 and Articles R. 541-12-17 et seq. of the French Environmental Code).