HC Deb 23 October 2003 vol 411 c644W
Sir Sydney Chapman

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the withdrawal by the European Commission of its application to the European Court of Justice for the imposition of a fine on France for its ban on the import of British beef; and what the total fine was for which the French Government was liable. [133017]

Mr. Bradshaw

[holding answer 21 October 2003]: The UK Government was gratified that France at last complied with EU law and lifted its ban on British beef on 25 October 2002.

The European Commission withdrew its case in the European Court of justice seeking a daily fine on France after France lifted its ban. Therefore, no fines were payable, but the Commission asked the Court to order that costs of the case be borne by France. The UK Government regretted the decision by the European Commission not to pursue the case for penalties against France. The UK supported the Commission throughout and believed that pressing this case would have sent a firm message to member states that no one country can avoid its obligations and responsibilities.