Food Law News - EU - 2002

Commission Press Release (IP/02/446), 20 March 2002

BSE - Letter of formal notice sent to France for non-compliance of Court judgement on British beef

Under the EU-Treaty (Article 228(1)) a Member State is obliged to implement a judgement of the European Court of Justice. On 13 December 2001, the Court declared France's refusal to end the ban on British beef and veal as unlawful (C-1/00). Thus, France was to implement EU legislation and to create the legal conditions to allow the resumption of imports of British beef to France. Up to now no measure implementing the Court judgement has been communicated to the European Commission. The Commission has therefore sent today a letter of formal notice to France identifying France's infringement of the Court judgement. France is expected to submit its observations within 30 days.

Background Notes

Since 1 August 1999 British beef can be exported under the so-called DBES system (date-based export scheme) which sets strict conditions (i.e. only deboned meat of bovines between 6-30 months of age).

Article 228 of the EU Treaty established the legal procedure to follow if a Member State does not comply with a Court of Justice judgement. After a letter of formal notice, a reasoned opinion is addressed to the Member State concerned. If non-compliance continues, the Commission may apply to the Court of Justice to impose a fine. The Court is free to decide the level of the fine and is not bound by any amount suggested by the Commission

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