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Dr. Andreas Neumann LL.M.

Dr. Andreas Neumann is admitted as an attorney-at-law in the jurisdictions of Austria, Germany and New York. He is a member of Baker McKenzie’s Public Law Practice Group in Frankfurt. Prior to joining the Firm in October 2015, he gained four years of professional experience as an associate in one of Austria's leading business law firms. In this function, Andreas counseled major international enterprises in the pharmaceutical and telecommunication industries in trade law and regulatory matters. Andreas also spent nine months as a judicial clerk at various sections of the Salzburg District and Regional Court.

On 1 January 2021, a revised version of the German Batteries Act (Batteriegesetz, “BattG”) entered into force. This change was triggered by the fact that the former German system of battery take-back was no longer sustainable. The former legal structure had imposed an unfair burden upon GRS Batterien, Europe’s largest collection scheme, which had become increasingly financially unattractive and therefore had been abandoned by many battery manufacturers who had set up their own take-back schemes.

The German Federal Ministry of the Environment has published a draft bill for a “Single-Use Plastic Fund Act”. The bill transposes the extended producer responsibility requirements as set out in Art. 8 para. 1 to 7 of the Single-use Plastic Directive into German law. In the future, manufacturers of single-use plastic products must cover the costs of waste collection, cleaning up litter resulting from those products and the subsequent transport and treatment of such litter.

Please join us for upcoming webinars on important developments in the Consumer Goods & Retail industry. Please note that the webinar series will be held in German only

What has happened?

In 2017, the German Parliament amended the German Road Traffic Act (Straßenverkehrsgesetz, “StVG”) to allow the use of vehicles equipped with Level 3 automated steering systems on public roads. Such automated systems allow the driver to disengage from the act of driving while the vehicle is operated by the automated steering system. Level 3 is, however, limited to specific situations and the driver must be able to regain control upon request from the system.

Four years later, in February 2021, the German Federal Government went a step further and adopted a draft bill including Level 4 autonomous driving as an option when participating in public traffic. Level 4 describes fully automated driving where the vehicle’s driving system is fully capable of handling all driving functions without requiring human interaction. However, in difficult driving conditions, a human driver may have to take over control of the vehicle. Germany would be the first country in the world allowing to operate such level 4-enabled vehicles on public roads.

What has happened? This July, the German Federal Council approved, with changes, an amendment to the German Batteries Act (Batteriegesetz, “BattG”) suggested by the German cabinet. The bill became necessary, as the current German system of battery take-back was no longer sustainable. The legal structure imposed an unfair burden upon GRS Batterien, Europe’s largest collection scheme, which became increasingly financially unattractive and was therefore abandoned by many battery manufacturers who set up their own take-back schemes.

The new Batteries Act aims to set a level playing field. In addition, it introduces a registration obligation for anyone placing batteries on the German market and it transposes certain new requirements under the amended Waste Framework Directive into German law.