19 November 1999
Schröder backs UK over beef

By FWi staff

GERMAN Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has backed Britain in the beef dispute, saying he believes France should lift its ban of British beef.

This is despite the fact that his own country still refuses to accept beef from Britain.

In an interview with the French newspaper, Le Monde, Mr Schröder said the ruling by the European Commission stating there was no longer a health risk should be respected.

While Germany has yet to comply with the ruling, Mr Schröder believes his country is in a different situation.

Regional states have the right under national law to decide for themselves whether to lift the ban.

Earlier this week German health minister Andrea Fischer said concessions are needed before the boycott will be lifted.

She called for clear labelling and clarification of BSE testing, and asked the European Commission to approve labelling rules by the middle of next month.

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

The EC has written to Germany asking it to outline a timetable for lifting its embargo.

The European Union lifted its three-and-a-half year BSE ban on British beef in August. France and Germany have retained boycotts, citing food safety fears.