6 October 1999
Blair brands French ban illegal

PRIME minister Tony Blair has written to his French counterpart Lionel Jospin complaining that Frances continuing ban on British beef is illegal and unjustified.

But the French government appeared undaunted by the British prime ministers intervention.

It maintained it would not admit British beef until it received new scientific proof that the danger of human infection from mad cow disease had been overcome.

France has taken a step to address British concerns, however.

It has announced that the ban would no longer apply to beef from Britain passing through France on the way to other European countries.

The European Commission has warned it will take legal action unless France agrees to abide by the European Union decision to lift the three-year embargo before 16 October.

The French farm minister, Jean Glavany, said yesterday that he had sought a meeting of EU experts on food safety to discuss the “new” doubts.

The decision to defy Brussels has been welcomed in France by farmers and doctors.

The national academy of medicine said was an act of “great wisdom” to refuse to buy British beef.