28 October 1999
Ban decision could be ‘messy’

THE European Commissions scientific steering committee (SSC) charged with helping to resolve the beef dispute could emerge with a messy decision, according to an analysis by the Financial Times.

The SSC is at the top of a tree of nine committees of scientific specialists which advise the union on subjects ranging from BSE to genetically modified organisms.

Two on the SSC, including the chairman Gerard Pascal, are French. But they are outnumbered by four Britons.

There are also two Germans, Italians and Dutchmen, and one Belgian, Swede, Spaniard and Irishman in the 16-strong group.

The group is supposed to be independent but the newspaper notes that the French members of a committee, which advised the SSC, were enthusiastic supporters of the French government.

The newspaper suggests that the Germans could side with the French on the issue.