France given10 days to end beef ban

4 November 1999

France given10 days to end beef ban

BRUSSELS yesterday (Wednesday) set France an ultimatum: a grace period of 10 days to lift its ban on British beef, or face legal action through the European Court of Justice.

David Byrne, consumer affairs commissioner, also told the European Parliament there was no question of amending the British export scheme to meet French demands.

There were indications last night that France is keen to lift the ban.

Jean Glavany, the French agriculture minister, said last night that the embargo would be lifted: “The problem is not when – it is about how”.

The government was meanwhile preparing for the technical committee meeting in Brussels tomorrow when a “teach-in” on the controls on British beef will be explained.

Mr Byrne emphasised that the aim of these talks – including beef labelling and testing for BSE – was clarification, not negotiation.

The government has also extended an “open invitation” to the French to send vets to abattoirs licensed for beef exports.

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