19 January 2000
Germany delays beef ban decision

By FWI Staff

GERMANY has delayed a decision on lifting its British beef ban after putting back a vote on the issue by six weeks.

The German upper house was due to decide on February 4 whether there was a BSE threat from British beef, after consideration by health and agriculture committees.

But the committees have asked for extra time and the vote has now been scheduled for March 17.

The European Commission is still satisfied Germany is heading in the right direction, however, and is resisting starting legal procedures.

A number of Germanys 16 regional governments are against lifting the BSE ban, despite EU scientists saying British beef is safe.

The German government needs full parliamentary approval to lift its ban. A decision has to be passed by the upper house, in which the regional governments are represented.

The EU lifted its three-and-a-half-year ban on British beef in August. France and Germany refused to accept British beef citing safety fears.

The EC has begun legal proceedings to force France to lift its ban, and Germany faces the same fate if it votes against accepting British beef.