22 June 2001


&#8226 LAWYERS representing the French government and the European commission were in the European Court of Justice this week, presenting their cases over Frances continuing ban on British beef due to BSE fears. Legal proceedings were started against the French early last year when they defied an EU decision to allow exports of British beef. A final judgment is not expected until later this year.

&#8226 HUNGARY has decided to start testing all over-30-month cattle for BSE before letting them into the human food chain. And, according to Reuters reports, the government also intends to trace the origin of all cattle imported in the last 15 years. The move follows the discovery of the first case of BSE in the neighbouring Czech Republic last week. It may also be a useful step in seeking EU membership, where testing is compulsory. &#42

ESTONIA has been given the go-ahead to start spending some 12.1m euros (£7.4m) of Brussels money to help its farmers prepare for EU membership, probably in 2004. The cash, available under the so-called SAPARD programme, is for investing in agricultural holdings, improving processing facilities and developing the rural infrastructure. Estonia is only the second candidate country to be trusted with the money.

EU leaders meeting in Gothenburg for last weekends summit declared that, in future, the common agricultural policy (CAP) should "increase its emphasis on high quality products and environmentally sustainable production methods". But they failed to decide on a site for the new European Food Authority.

See more