European Union ministers have agreed on plans to phase out rules on food packaging sizes. To convince France, Italy and Spain to go along, member states were given up to six years to get rid of their restrictions. The European Commission wants to simplify or scrap EU rules that it considers a burden on business.
Member states can keep mandatory sizes on milk, butter, dried pasta and coffee for five years, white sugar packages for six years. But no state is allowed to block imports of packed foods that are legally for sale in another member state but are in sizes that are different from those sold on the domestic market. Critics warn the liberalisation is liable to weaken EU integration and confuse consumers.