Denmark wants the European Commission to force the German government to restrict an annual cross-border shopping trade of around 400m cans of beer.

By signing a declaration that the beer will be exported, Danish consumers avoid a surcharge designed to fund recycling within Germany. Such a fee is also charged on beer cans sold in Denmark.

A joint statement from the Danish environment and trade ministries has asked the Commission to intervene, claiming the surcharge waiver amounts to illegal state aid.

"We ask the Commission to make sure that the Germans do not export a waste problem and…cause obvious unfair competition", said the ministries.