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Brussels, 13 November 2002

British beef: Commission satisfied that EU law is now respected

The European Commission has finalised its analysis of the French transposition law of Decision 98/256/EC as amended by Decision 98/692/EC and Decision 1999/514/EC allowing for exports of British beef under strictly regulated conditions within the framework of the so-called Date Based Export Scheme. It concluded that the French implementing law fulfilled the conditions of the EU legislation. The Commission is thus satisfied that compliance with EU law has been achieved.

The European Commission has withdrawn its application to the European Court of Justice for the imposition of a daily fine on France for failure to implement the judgment of the Court of Justice (C-1/00) of 13 of December 2001 ordering France to lift the British beef embargo.

The Commission is acting in accordance with the relevant provisions of the EC Treaty in respect of non-compliance by a Member State with its obligations.

The Commission has asked the Court to order that the costs of the case be borne by France as the French authorities have not complied with the judgment of the Court within the deadline set in the reasoned opinion.

In the light of the experience of this and other similar cases, the Commission has decided to re-examine its approach to the application of Article 228 of the EC Treaty and will return to this at a later date.

Note to editors:

Article 226 and 228 of the EU Treaty establish the legal procedure to be followed if a Member State does not comply with EU legislation or with a Court of Justice judgment. The purpose of these procedures is to achieve compliance with EU law.

Article 226 and 228 provide that after a letter of formal notice, a reasoned opinion is addressed to the Member State concerned specifying the points in respect of which the failure to comply with the legislation or judgment continues and requesting compliance within a specified time limit.

If non-compliance with EU legislation continues, the Commission may bring the case before the Court. In the case of non-compliance with a Court judgment the Commission may bring another action before the Court and specify the amount of the financial penalty which it considers should be imposed on the Member State.

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