15 November 1999
Brown to demand EC action over beef

By FWi staff

FARMING minister Nick Brown will this morning (Monday) deliver an ultimatum to the European Commission at its monthly farm council meeting.

He will insist that legal action is taken against France if it refuses to lift its ban on British beef.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, speaking from South Africa said he still hoped ther could be a last-minute negotiated solution to end the ban.

He said that even if legal action was successful, it would do little to persuade French consumers to buy British beef.

The farm council meeting agenda includes discussing marketing outside of the EU, the flax and hemp regime, beef labelling and the banana regime.

If the EC decides on legal action against France, this would begin tomorrow in Strasbourg.

The initial stages would take several months, during which France would come under increasing pressure to climb down.

Meanwhiloe the National Farmers Union is urging the British public to say no to Beaujolais Nouveau day on Thursday, and instead opt for British beef and beer.

The NFU will be encouraging pubs and restaurants throughout the country to serve British beer and beef in protest at Frances ban on British beef.

This is part of the NFUs ongoing Thank You for Buying British campaign. Other events planned for the next few months include a pork and cider breakfast and a fresh turkey and chicken day.

The EU lifted its three-and-a-half-year BSE ban on British beef in August. France has continued its boycott, as it is not satisfied with traceability and BSE testing procedures. Germany also has retained its ban.