Food Law News - EU - 2008
Council of Ministers Minutes, 20 November 2008
WEIGHTS - Council reach Common Position on units of measurement proposal
The following is an extract from the minutes of the Agriculture Council meeting held 18-20 November 2008.
The Council adopted a common position on a proposal for a Directive improving the system of units of measurement within the EU (11915/08 and 11915/08 ADD1).
The common position, which follows from the political agreement reached within the Council on 15 July, will be referred to the European Parliament for a second reading in accordance with the codecision procedure.
The common position proposes to amend Directive 80/181/EEC, which lays down the legal units of measurement within the EU, and is based on the International System of Units (SI).
The new provisions of the Directive are intended to:
- enable the United Kingdom and Ireland to continue to use the limited local exemptions concerning the pint, the mile and the troy ounce where they are still applied (the basic Directive set deadlines for the use of non-SI units of measurement in those two countries);
- extend the scope of the Directive to consumer and environmental protection;
- extend the use of supplementary indications for an unlimited period (the basic Directive provided for their use until the end of 2009). The importance of the use of supplementary indications lies, for instance, in trade with economic partners which do not use the same units of measurement (e.g. the gallon in trade with the United States);
- introduce three new SI derived units:
- the katal (kat) as a unit for catalytic activity (used in medicine and biochemistry);
- the radian (rad) as a unit for a plane angle (used in geometry and physics);
- the steradian (sr) as a unit for a solid angle (used in geometry and physics);
- drop the acre as a land registration measurement unit (as it is no longer used in the United Kingdom and Ireland).
The text should apply to Member States from 1 January 2010.
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