Impact assessment study on Parliament's amendments to a Commission proposal on nominal quantities for pre-packed products

01-09-2005

The European Commission presented a proposal for a Directive laying down rules on nominal quantities for pre-packaged products (COM 2004/708), in which it proposes to abolish existing pack size ranges for most (liquid and non-liquid; food and non-food) pre-packaged products. Only for very few products, are ranges1 maintained for a transitional period, after which ranges are to be automatically abolished. The European Parliament (EP), while in principle agreeing with the European Commission’s liberalisation approach2, tends to believe that mandatory pack size ranges should continue to apply to certain “basic products”3. The EP thinks that the European Commission’s impact assessments – which led the latter to favour the liberalisation scenario – did not sufficiently take into account the impacts of this policy option on consumers (in particular vulnerable consumers) and small and medium sized enterprises (SME). The EP has therefore commissioned this impact assessment, the objective of which is to enable the Honourable Members to fully understand the positive and negative impacts (costs and benefits) – in economic, social and environmental terms – of their favoured policy option and of the amendments they have tabled in first reading (at the committee stage), and to gain insight into alternative policy choices (full liberalisation; no change scenario). The impact assessment model4 used in this study has been developed to enable a holistic, balanced view of the impacts on consumers and manufacturers under a full liberalisation scenario, following the request of the Honourable Members to provide them with a ‘synthetic picture’ and reflecting their specific needs by being short, concise and easily accessible but at the same time comprehensive.

The European Commission presented a proposal for a Directive laying down rules on nominal quantities for pre-packaged products (COM 2004/708), in which it proposes to abolish existing pack size ranges for most (liquid and non-liquid; food and non-food) pre-packaged products. Only for very few products, are ranges1 maintained for a transitional period, after which ranges are to be automatically abolished. The European Parliament (EP), while in principle agreeing with the European Commission’s liberalisation approach2, tends to believe that mandatory pack size ranges should continue to apply to certain “basic products”3. The EP thinks that the European Commission’s impact assessments – which led the latter to favour the liberalisation scenario – did not sufficiently take into account the impacts of this policy option on consumers (in particular vulnerable consumers) and small and medium sized enterprises (SME). The EP has therefore commissioned this impact assessment, the objective of which is to enable the Honourable Members to fully understand the positive and negative impacts (costs and benefits) – in economic, social and environmental terms – of their favoured policy option and of the amendments they have tabled in first reading (at the committee stage), and to gain insight into alternative policy choices (full liberalisation; no change scenario). The impact assessment model4 used in this study has been developed to enable a holistic, balanced view of the impacts on consumers and manufacturers under a full liberalisation scenario, following the request of the Honourable Members to provide them with a ‘synthetic picture’ and reflecting their specific needs by being short, concise and easily accessible but at the same time comprehensive.

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Ergo Communications (London, UK)