18 November 1999
Now Germans kick up over beef

By FWi staff

GERMANY has said it will not lift its ban on British beef until further concessions are made.

Health minister Andrea Fischer announced her government wants clear labelling and clarification of BSE testing.

Ms Fischer said the protection of the consumer remains the highest priority for her country.

This dashes hopes of the beef ban being lifted before mid December despite Germany being given a formal warning by the European Commission.

German regional governments have opposed the lifting of the boycott.

Berlin has to get measures to lift the ban through its upper house of parliament as is required by its constitution.

Meanwhile, hopes are high for a rapid settlement in the British beef dispute with France, despite the start of European Union legal proceedings against Paris

EC food commissioner David Byrne, who has given France two weeks to lift its embargo, said the sides had made considerable progress.

Mr Byrne also plans to impose a Europe-wide system for testing animals for BSE, giving uniformity across Europe.

Shortly before legal action was launched, French agriculture minister Jean Glavany said both sides had reached a provisional accord.

Paris had asked for further assurances from Britain on its promise to speed up the introduction of new diagnostic tests for BSE, which will be used throughout the EU

BBC Online reports a Brussels source saying the outline of a deal has been fleshed out, but it is up to Paris to make the next formal move to accept.

The British government received a boost when the Norwegian agriculture ministry, decided to lift its ban on British beef.

Although Norway was never a significant market for UK meat, a British official welcomed the decision saying it bore out the analysis of the EC scientific steering committee.”