10 June 1998
EC expected to back end to beef ban
THE lifting of the beef ban on British beef exports is expected to be recommended by the European Commission (EC) in Brussels today (Wednesday) – more than two years after the ban was imposed.
Frans Fischler, EU agriculture commissioner, has become one of Britains biggest allies in recent months and will try to convince the EC to support an end to the ban. He is confident of winning approval for the UKs born-after proposal, which would allow Britain to export meat from animals born after August 1996 – the date when meat and bone meal was banned on farms.
However, obtaining EC approval is just the beginning of the bans end. The proposal must then be approved by the EUs standing veterinary committee and a majority of farm ministers from member states.
If everything goes as planned, British beef could be back on supermarket shelves throughout the world by as early as autumn.
If the EC accepts the proposal today, as expected, there is likely to be enough time to present it to the farm council, which meets next month. UK officials are expecting strong opposition from Germany at farm council. The Germans are unlikely to support a lifting of the ban with a national election earmarked for September.
However, UK officials now believe that they might be able to muster enough support from other member states to outweigh Germanys fervent opposition.
- The Times 10/06/98 page 2 (News in Brief)
- Financial Times 10/06/98 page 1
- The Daily Telegraph 10/06/98 page 10