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Holding a Candle to the European Union

27-11-2015

The European Union's (EU) member states have voted to enter the essential business of candle regulation, just in time for the Christmas tradition of lighting Advent Candles. The new EU regulations dictate safety standards controlling the height, stability, and acceptable support structures for candles.

A four page document sets out the new rules "to be met by European standards for candles, candle supports, containers and accessories pursuant to Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on general product safety."

Essential rules without which the continent could not function include:

  • "The safety of the product shall not rely on complicated user procedures"
  • "Free-standing candles or candles supplied with a holder or container shall remain stable (e.g. not tip over) during burning"
  • "Materials used in or on candles and candle supports, containers and accessories shall not spread or create a secondary flame at any stage during the normal burning of a candle or during its final extinction"
  • "The presentation and illustration of the product as well as any information provided shall not play down risks to any potential user"

Specifically, what looks to be regulation targeted at Advent Candles, or indeed the Jewish menorah, the document dictates common sense policies such as:

  • 'Never leave a burning candle unattended.'
  • 'Burn candle out of the reach of children and pets.'
  • 'Do not burn candles on or near anything that can catch fire.'

Described as "new Brussels madness just before Christmas" by German website Focus, and illustrated with the headline, "Fire is a Fire Hazard" by one local paper – eurosceptics will finally be able to move on from deriding cucumber length and apple size regulation. Get ready to hear all about the specific safety requirements for candles during the British referendum on European Union membership.

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