The European Commission has proposed scrapping European Union (EU) rules mandating set packaging sizes for certain drinks products, to promote choice.

Existing 1970s' rules set sizes for bottles, cans and cartons of beer, milk, milk-based beverages, mineral and other bottled waters (still or sparkling) and fruit juices. They replaced a patchwork of national packaging size laws that impeded EU trade.

Now the Commission has decided these EU rules are also restrictive. Acting EU enterprise Commissioner Olli Rehn said: "Deregulation will greatly facilitate the introduction of updated and new products".

The proposal excludes wines and spirits, where the Commission concluded pressure from buyers such as supermarkets for particular sizes could "incur excessive costs" on sectors with "low demand growth" that are "accustomed to fixed sizes".