On 14 January 2002, the new Danish government announced its intentions to lift the disputed ban on canned beer and soft drinks.
The Danish Minister for the environment Mr. Hans Christian
Schmidt, said on Monday that Denmark will change its legislation on
canned beer and soft drinks. The new legislation will include the
- The ban on non-refillable cans be lifted on 23 January
- New, non-discriminatory, rules on deposit fees on beverage cans
will be developed;
- In June 2002 a new scheme for recycling facilities in retail
shops will be put in place.
Mr. Schmidt said he hopes that in the light of this decision,
the Commission will halt the infringement procedures against
Denmark. However, Ms. Pia Ahrenkilde from Commissioner Wallström's
cabinet said that no decision will be taken until a careful
examination of the Danish proposal has been made.
The beer and soft drink producers, as well as
the packaging industries welcomed the lifting of the ban.
The Danish ban on beer and soft drink cans has been a
controversial issue for many years. In 1989 the Commission lost a
court case against the ban. The Commission argued that the rules
impeded the free movement of goods. However, the Court ruled that
the ban was legitimate for environmental reasons.
In April 1999, the Commission decided to start
new legal proceedings before the European Court of Justice. This
time, the Advocate General rejected Denmark's claims and emphasised
the objectives of free trade. This opinion put pressure on Denmark,
since an unfavourable final ruling in the Court of Justice seemed