HL Deb 03 June 2003 vol 648 cc152-3WA
Baroness Byford

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which countries in the European Union have yet to implement Directive 1997/74/EC on the welfare of laying hens; which of those countries export eggs to the United Kingdom; how much such imports cost, giving figures on an individual basis by country; and whether they will ban all egg imports from European Union countries which have not implemented the directive. [HL2904]

Lord Whitty:

The United Kingdom transposed Council Directive 1999/74/EC on the welfare of laying hens, and the Commission was notified of this on 3 September 2002. Information on the level of implementation by other Member States of this directive is not available.

The relative costs of eggs from those member states which have implemented the directive from those which have not cannot therefore be identified. The value of shell eggs imports from other member states for 2002 are listed below.

Member State Value (£)
Belgium 332,176
Denmark 416,150
Finland 119,362
France 3,332,964
Germany 4,243,512
Irish Republic 367,294
Italy 60,316
Netherlands 6,662,969
Portugal 55,954
Spain 5,259,500
Sweden 60,707
Total 20,910,904

It is the responsibility of each member state to notify the European Commission of the implementation of Council directives and the Commission can take action if a member state fails to implement a directive within the required timescale. Unilateral action by the UK to ban egg imports from member states which have not implemented the directive would be illegal under the single market. Restrictions can only be applied where there is a threat to human, animal or plant health in the importing country.