21 September 2001
Papers mull French beef-ban ruling

By FWi staff

SEVEN of Britains newspapers report on the European preliminary ruling that Frances ban on British beef because of fears over BSE is illegal.

France could not refuse to implement a 1999 European Commission decision to lift the ban, said advocate general Jean Mischo on Thursday (20 September).

The Daily Telegraph reports rural affairs secretary Margaret Beckett who said: “I am delighted … the opinion vindicates our position.”

The Independent quotes a spokesman for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who hoped the ban would be lifted.

“We would hope that the French would take notice of their increasingly shaky legal ground on which they are standing,” the paper reports him as saying.

But French agriculture minister Jean Glavany told the Financial Times that he saw no reason to lift the embargo. “I have not changed my opinion” he said.

The European Court will give its final verdict later this year, but all the papers suggest that judges are more than likely to follow the first ruling.

The Daily Express comments that British exports of beef, lamb and pork will remain banned despite the decision because of foot-and-mouth.

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Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks
Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage