After several compromise proposals presented by past Presidencies, all of which failed to secure the necessary majority, the Council finally rallied, by unanimity against the Commission, with the United Kingdom abstaining, around a last compromise solution presented by the Netherlands chairmanship. The latter therefore concluded that there is now a draft common position on the proposal for a Directive amending Directive 89/398/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to foodstuffs intended for particular nutritional uses ("dietary foodstuffs").
Once formally adopted at a forthcoming Council session, the common position will be transmitted to the European Parliament for a second reading pursuant to the co-decision procedure.
The proposal sets out to modify Directive 89/398/EEC (part of the White Paper programme for the realisation of the internal market), which instaured common rules concerning the labelling, presentation and advertising of dietary foodstuffs. The annex of this directive lists nine "groups of foods for particular nutritional uses for which specific provisions will be laid down by specific directives" (to be adopted by the Commission, in accordance with a regulatory committee procedure).
In line with the experience acquired since the adoption of the Directive, and in the light of the conclusions of the Edinburgh summit in 1992 (which had called for simpler and less legislation), the categories of products requiring specific provisions are to be limited to five according to the draft common position. These are:
As regards Foods for persons suffering from carbohydrate-metabolism disorders (diabetics), a decision on the desirability of special provisions would be taken only after a transitional period (no longer than three years from the adoption of the Directive), to be used by the Commission for further consultation of the Scientific Committee for Food.