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Historical background information on EBFRIP legal complaint against the Blue Angel eco-label

February 1999

 EBFRIP, the European Brominated Flame Retardant Industry Panel, was concerned by reports that various players of the electric/electronic (E&E) industry were interpreting the Blue Angel and the Nordic White Swan schemes as mandatory market entry requirements and that some government bodies were specifying eco-label criteria as being mandatory rather than voluntary requirements to comply with public procurement contracts.

On June 4, 1997, EBFRIP filed a complaint with EU Commission DG XV, which, amongst its internal market responsibilities, deals with the free movement of goods and public procurement. The basis for the complaint was EBFRIP’s concern that some of the product criteria of the German Blue Angel and Nordic White Swan eco-labels unfairly discriminate against brominated flame retardants and distort the free flow of trade within the European Union.

The product categories concerned in the EBFRIP complaint were: personal computers (PCs), photocopiers, and printers under the German Blue Angel scheme; and PCs, copiers, printers, and fax machines under the Nordic White Swan scheme.

EBFRIP’s complaint was not against the eco-labels per se, but rather the specific criteria that they contained relative to the use of brominated flame retardants in E&E equipment.

On February 26, 1999, EU DG XV sent a letter to EBFRIP formally closing the complaint.