HC Deb 11 March 1998 vol 308 cc254-5W
Mr. Letwin

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for what reasons the early marketing payment scheme for veal is not applied in the United Kingdom. [33730]

Mr. Rooker

[holding answer 10 March 1998]: We do not consider that the Early Marketing Scheme is achieving its objective of reducing beef production by encouraging slaughter at lower weights, or that the scheme is cost-effective. Moreover, the small scale of our veal industry would make the burden of administration disproportionate.

Mr. Baker

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make it his policy to ban under Article 36 of the Treaty of Rome the import of veal from EU countries where veal crates have been used. [33646]

Mr. Morley

[holding answer 10 March 1998]: Although the use of the narrow veal crate has been banned in the UK since 1990, the system is still used in many other member states, under EU legislation which permits this until 31 December 2006. Our legal advice is that Article 36 of the Treaty of Rome cannot be used to ban imports of veal that have been legally produced in these member states. We are currently awaiting a judgment of the European Court of Justice as to whether Article 36 would allow us to ban the export of calves to be reared in crates. When this judgment is available we shall need to consider whether it enables us to change our view of what action is open to us under Article 36.

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