On 14 May 2014, the General Court of the European Union (“GC”) handed down its judgment in the action for annulment brought by Germany against a 2012 Commission decision partially approving its request to maintain stricter limit values for certain hazardous substance in toys – namely antimony, arsenic, mercury, lead and barium – than those contained in Directive 2009/48 on the safety of toys (“Toys Directive”).

As regards arsenic, antimony and mercury, the GC concluded that Germany had not proved that the German limit values ensured a higher level of protection than those contained in Toys Directive, since, on conversion, the German limit values were, for the most part, higher than those contained in Toys Directive. As regards lead, the GC annulled the Commission decision insofar as it approved the German limit values for lead only until 21 July 2013. The GC found that the Commission failed to state reasons underlying its decision and that the decision, in effect, amounted to a negative decision given that the previous EU limit values, on which the German limit values were based, were valid until 20 July 2013. As regards barium, the GC declared, at Germany’s request, that there is no longer any need to adjudicate on the action, as the Commission has amended the limit value for barium in the meantime.

The full text of the GC’s judgment can be accessed here