German ban on UK beef

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 1 May 2000



(2000), "German ban on UK beef", British Food Journal, Vol. 102 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

German ban on UK beef

German ban on UK beef

The Commission decided on 15 February to start legal action against Germany for not lifting its ban on British beef. As the first step in infringement proceedings in EU law, Commissioner David Byrne was to ask the German government to clarify its position shortly after 17 March. This was the day that the upper house of the German Parliament was due to consider the matter. If no satisfactory response was forthcoming, the Commission could issue a "reasoned opinion", the second stage in infringement action, asking Germany to comply with EU law. However, the Commission remains hopeful that a positive outcome can be reached without recourse to further legal action. Byrne said that he had had constructive contacts with the German government and that the signs were positive. He reiterated the importance of ensuring that EU law is respected, particularly given the long delay in Germany's response to the decision to lift the ban on British beef.

However, on the 17 March 2000, the German Bundesrat voted to lift the ban on British beef exports. UK Agriculture Minister Nick Brown said:

We are pleased that the ban has been lifted. We are grateful to the Federal Government which has consistently taken the view that the ban should be lifted. This upholds the rule of EU law and brings Germany into line with the other 12 member states. This decision leaves France isolated and facing court action. I hope the French will now see sense and obey the law. This is a victory for sound science. The EU Scientific Steering Committee agreed unanimously that British beef exported under the Date Based Export Scheme is as safe as any in Europe. We now look forward to winning back customers in Germany with high quality British produce.

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