27 October 1999
French minister calls for end to beef row
FRENCH agriculture minister Jean Glavany has called on Britain to end the growing row over Frances ban on British beef imports.
But his British counterpart Nick Brown has said it was time to take France to court to have the ban lifted, reports the Financial Times.
Mr Glavany said Britain and France should concentrate on improving mutual trade interests, but gave no indication that France would consider lifting its illegal ban.
Speaking in a British television interview, Mr Glavany said that France was unhappy with the current situation, and did not benefit from the crisis.
He added that he would like to find a solution, and said: “I appeal to the British authorities, lets work together rather than poisoning things.”
This contrasts with his decision to cancel a weekend meeting with Mr Brown on the issue. Mr Glavany said he had to accompany his prime minister on a trip to t he West Indies.
The European Union independent Scientific Steering Committee is considering French evidence for its ban and will report back to the European Commission.
If it decides there are no grounds for the ban, France can be taken to the European Court of Justice.
Mr Brown said he thought it was time to “take action against the French through the courts”. He added that Britain would look to the European Commission to take swift action.
French truckers, angered at unofficial boycotts of their produce in Britain, yesterday blockaded British truck at Calais
The British government is resisting calls for a retaliatory ban, despite revelations last weekend that French livestock were given feed make with human sewage and animal parts.
Although the EU lifted its three-and-a-half year BSE ban on British beef in August, France has continued a unilateral ban as it questions the safety of British meat.