29 October 1999
Avoid legal action over French, UK warned
BRITAINS farmers would be well advised to accept a political compromise even if the European Commissions scientists reject the French case, according to The Times.
The alternative would be for the commission to begin legal action against France, which could take years before Paris was forced to lift its ban on British beef.
The commission would first have to run through a number of procedures taking several months before reference to the European Court of Justice. This, in turn, could face long delays.
Even if the final judgement went against Paris, it would still be given another chance to comply.
Success in the courtroom could also be a hollow victory, according to Commission officials.
Although France might be forced to lift its ban, French consumers could not be forced to buy the beef and would be less likely to do so after a highly publicised court case.