An Advocate General of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has struck another blow against the European Commission's bid to block the drinks packaging merger between Switzerland's Tetra Laval group, (a leader in carton production), and French company Sidel, which designs and manufactures plastic bottles.

Antonio Tizzano has advised the senior ECJ to reject a final Commission appeal against a 2002 decision by its sister Court of First Instance to annul an earlier Brussels ban on the merger.

The Commission has claimed it would have "negative repercussions on competition", but the court found this analysis flawed. Now the full ECJ (which usually follows its advocate generals' advice) is poised to end the Commission's legal action.