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Brussels, 19 May 2011

Free movement of goods: Commission requests Greece to facilitate the selling of "bake off" products

The European Commission has today decided to request Greece to amend its current legislation on the minimum surface areas for the preparation of bakery products produced using the ‘bake‑off’ method. The ‘bake‑off’ method consists of quick thawing followed by re-heating or baking, at sales outlets, of fully or partially pre-baked and frozen products. Currently, Greek legislation requires minimum surface areas of at least 24.99m2 for the preparation of these products. The Commission considers these requirements do not take into account the specific nature of such products and their inherent attractiveness to be ‘completed’ by a short final baking also in very small premises.

The Commission takes the view that the restrictions in question violated Article 34 TFEU and cannot be justified under ground of hygiene and safety considerations (Article 36). These national requirements entail additional unnecessary costs and obstacles, making the preparation and marketing of those products more difficult, creating obstacles to trade in violation of Article 34 TFEU.

The attention of the Greek authorities was also drawn to the provisions of Regulation (EC) 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs, which is of direct application to the Member States and do not provided for minimum surface requirements..

Today the Commission issued a reasoned opinion under EU infringement procedures. If Greece will not inform the Commission within two months on possible measures taken to ensure full compliance with EU law, the Commission may decide to refer Greece to the EU's Court of Justice.

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