26 June 1998

UKsefforts to lift beef ban praised by NFU

The UK governments six-month presidency of the EU was

launched in a blaze of glory and draws to a close on

Tuesday (June 30). But did the reality match the

expectation? FW reporters asked some of the leading

farming and conservation groups for their views

DESPITE the governments failure to secure a lifting of the beef ban during its six-month EU presidency, on balance its term of office has been a success, according to NFU policy director Ian Gardiner.

"At the outset of the presidency we urged the government to get the beef export ban lifted. While this hasnt been achieved, the ban has been lifted for Northern Ireland and advances towards a lifting of the ban for the rest of the UK have been made," he said.

Mr Gardiner added that the government team had succeeded in getting a UK proposal for the ending of the export ban elevated to EU Commission proposal status, and this was currently under review.

On CAP reform, he said the government had succeeded in coaxing all member states to give their views on reform proposals. That was a constructive first step towards meaningful reform.

Within the comparatively short six month term of office – and with Germany keen to resist major changes to EU policy in the run up to its own general election in September – the government had conducted a relatively successful presidency, Mr Gardiner concluded.