3 January 2000
Brussels sues France over beef ban
By FWi staff
THE European Commission has formally started legal action against France over its ongoing refusal to accept exports of British beef.
But lengthy European legal procedures mean that it could be at least 12 months before oral hearings take place in a court of law.
Officials from Brussels lodged a submission detailing their claim against the French government at the Court of Justice in Luxembourg on Monday (3 Jan).
The commission must now wait until an outline of its case is published in the court gazette and a judge is appointed to establish the facts.
That could take many months, not least because the commission has yet to decide whether to ask the court to speed up the case.
Although a fast-track approach would lead to a quicker result, it is thought there would be less chance of the court finding in the commissions favour.
The case is further complicated by a French claim that Brussels has failed to adopt the “precautionary principle” and prove that all British beef is safe from BSE.