15 November 1999
Lift ban tomorrow or else, French told

By FWi staff

BRITAIN has given France one final chance to lift its ban on British beef before the European Commission takes legal action.

Agriculture minister Nick Brown this morning delivered a letter to EC food commissioner David Byrne asking the EC to start court proceedings if France does not take steps to lift its ban on British beef by tomorrow (Tuesday).

Mr Brown said: “The French refusal to lift the ban is clearly illegal. The commission should act now to ensure to ensure European law is enforced.

But even at this eleventh hour Mr Brown is offering France a chance to settle the dispute by negotiation.

He added: “Nevertheless the UK government remains willing to discuss these matters with the Commission and the French government with a view to finding a satisfactory outcome forthwith.

In August the EU lifted its three-and-a-half-year ban on British beef following the BSE crisis.

France has refused to lift its embargo, despite the British government providing clarification of technical points.

The French food agency still has concerns over traceability and BSE testing.

Germany is also still imposing a ban on British beef.