Brussels, 30 September 2010
Free movement of goods: Commission requests Italy to remove barriers to trade in bottled water
The European Commission has today decided to request Italy to amend its current legislation on bottled water so as to ensure its full compliance with EU rules on the free movement of goods. The Commission considers that currentItalian legislation unduly restricts the marketing in Italy of water for human consumption, which is neither natural mineral water nor spring water. These restrictions on bottled drinking water create obstacles to the importation into Italy of drinking water lawfully manufactured or marketed elsewhere within the European Union. The request takes the form of a reasoned opinion under EU infringement procedures. If Italy does not inform the Commission within two months of measures taken to ensure full compliance with its obligations under EU law, the Commission may decide to refer Italy to the EU's Court of Justice.
Currently, Italian legislation set more stringent testing procedures than those provided in the EU drinking water Directive 98/83/EC. The Commission considers that these requirements impose additional unjustified burdens on importers of bottled drinking water. In particular, the Italian legislation imposes a duplication of controls for bottled drinking water imported into Italy from another Member State which has already been tested for compliance with EU legislation.
National legislation to ensure high quality drinking water and to protection of public health is not only justified but is also a requirement under EU law (Directive 98/83/EC). However, the Commission considers that the current Italian legislation, by imposing controls on bottled water already tested in other Member States, constitutes a disproportionate and unjustified barrier to imports of bottled water from other Member States in breach of rules on the free movement of goods laid down in Articles 34 and 36 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
For more information on EU infringement procedures, see