5 October 1999
Paris tries to calm beef row

FRANCE will today try to calm the growing row over its ban on British beef by permitting meat to cross its frontiers on its way to other markets.

But the UK government and the European Union are still expected to try and apply pressure on France to change its mind.

The European Commission said it found no justification for the French decision.

Officials studied a report from Frances food safety agency which recommended retaining the three-and-a-half-year ban.

But the Commission officials said they found no safety concerns not already covered by EU scientists.

The Commission has asked the French agency for more information on why a ban imposed during the BSE crisis was being maintained.

David Byrne, the consumer affairs commissioner, may carry out a threat to start legal proceedings if France cannot provide a reasonable explanation for the ban.

Nick Brown, the agriculture minister, is staging a one-man protest by refusing to consume any French products until the ban is lifted.

A National Farmers Union delegation met Daniel Bernoud, French ambassador, in London to voice their concerns.